Drawing: Born with it or can you learn it?
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Thread: Drawing: Born with it or can you learn it?

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    Question Drawing: Born with it or can you learn it?

    Do you think the ability to draw well is a talent that you're born with or is it a skill that you can learn?

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    The truth of the matter is simple. You aren’t born knowing how to do much more than breath and scream. Everything else is a learned skill
    http://theartorder.com/2012/01/17/miles-of-canvas/

    Learning to see

    "...the ideas are what matter most" Doug Chiang
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    Ever seen a baby paint a Mona Lisa? No? There you have your answer. It's all about practise, just like with everyting else. Some might have a slightly better sense of perspective or color or be better at observing, but that's all. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can make masterpieces without years and years of practise. Leonardo da Vinci was well over fifty years old when he painted the Mona Lisa.

    So yes, you can learn to draw too, as long as you have the necessary dedication.

    I'm sorry if my post sounds somewhat bitter, but I'm so sick and tired of all whiny kids complaining that they don't have "talent" and whatnot when they never did any serious work to get better. Pick up a paper and a pencil and get drawing! Anyone can do that! Even if you don't have hands, draw with your feet or your mouth!

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    I suggest you go to this part of the forum: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=41 and find out for yourself.

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    What kind of ninja doesn't do his research?!

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    Elwell is offline Sticks Like Grim Death Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Tristan Elwell
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    The original classic, thanks. I must be sure to bookmark it
    for the next time one of these pops up.

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    Thanks for all the replies everyone! Especially EagleGrove. :-)

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    prodigies only exist in Math, Music and chess. Beethoven saw a piano and could just play. Leonardo Davinci studied his @#$ off.

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    Sez you.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantYuhre View Post
    prodigies only exist in Math, Music and chess.
    evidence?

    "Ever seen a baby paint a Mona Lisa? No? There you have your answer."



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    I posted a long reply on reddit about this, and what "talent" actually is. It doesn't apply to just art, but everything where you see apparent inherent talent. People seemed to enjoy it so I'll repeat it here.

    Talent is a sum of small advantages starting from early childhood. A child that has artistically supportive parents, enough money for art supplies, maybe an art school nearby and friends who share the same interest is much more likely to become and consider themselves "talented" than a child who has very poor eyesight, who's neither parent has ever drawn anything, don't support the kid artistically and can't afford art supplies. By the time these kids know what "talent" means the advantaged kid is tens or even hundreds of hours of practice ahead of the other kid without neither of them knowing what "practice" means. On their first art class, one of the kids will already know what to do with the colored waxy sticks and produce a very nice drawing and is praised by their teacher, while the other will scratch their head and go back to playing football. Because of his positive experience with art, the advantaged kid will likely participate in creating art in the future too and will get even more ahead. The other one will think he is not talented so it's impossible for him to learn. At the age of 14, the kid that was drawing 30 minutes every couple of days will be 1277 hours ahead just because it has always been a small part of his life in one way or another.

    It doesn't apply to just art, but on anything where some are seemingly naturally better at it than others. It's a snowball effect that starts right after birth and continues until you do something about it. I agree that not everyone can be the next Da Vinci but that isn't because of some genetic anomaly but because of a very special set of conditions and opportunities presented to him. In a sense, yes, the talented kid is naturally advantaged but not in an absolute sense that the word "talent" implies. It's a small but very important difference and it's a shame that such a misconception is so engrained to everyone's minds. If you believe all your life you will never be able to do something, it doesn't matter that the opportunity is sitting right in front of your nose.

    I can recommend a couple of good books that expand on this. First one is "Talent is Overrated" by Geoff Colvin and the second one is "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.
    link to reddit

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    What Floatharr says x1000...

    Even Mozart wouldn't have been writing symphonies as a toddler if he hadn't been surrounded by people playing and writing music - otherwise, how would he even know what a symphony was? Or what a musical score was? Likewise, nobody ever saw a piano for the first time in their life and instantly knew how to play it - they had to see someone else play it first.

    But it doesn't matter anyway. Genuine prodigies and savants are extremely rare edge cases. The vast majority of professional artists started out drawing stick figures like everyone else, and learned to draw the same way anyone learns any skill. And as with any other skill, some may have had the desire and/or opportunities to learn sooner or faster. But people who started later or who learn more slowly can still reach the same level as the people who started sooner or learned faster. It just takes more time.

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    A child that has artistically supportive parents, enough money for art supplies, maybe an art school nearby and friends who share the same interest is much more likely to become and consider themselves "talented" than a child who has very poor eyesight, who's neither parent has ever drawn anything, don't support the kid artistically and can't afford art supplies. By the time these kids know what "talent" means the advantaged kid is tens or even hundreds of hours of practice ahead of the other kid without neither of them knowing what "practice" means.
    Oddly enough, I got started drawing and considered myself talented *because* I was the poor kid with bad eyesight and unsupportive, non-artist parents. When you're stuck at home alone for hundreds of hours with a pile of scrap paper and hand-me-down comics you get an awful lot of drawing practice in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Oddly enough, I got started drawing and considered myself talented *because* I was the poor kid with bad eyesight and unsupportive, non-artist parents. When you're stuck at home alone for hundreds of hours with a pile of scrap paper and hand-me-down comics you get an awful lot of drawing practice in.
    In my book, drawing because you ain't got nothin' better to do would count as a kind of "opportunity"... Youve got a void, so you fill it, and you might end up filling it with drawing. Kind of like how me and my sister did a lot of drawing and crafty things as kids because we didn't have a TV or much of anything else, really. I suspect if we'd had a TV and games and other distractions, we would have spent less time making things...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    This thread is turning into this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1wHxTyo
    SHHH. I'm just getting to the part where I had to be fitted with robotic drawing limbs because my arms fell off on account of the scurvy. It's very inspirational. It may or may not involve a cameo from the Virgin Mary and your experience will be greatly enhanced if you hum "St. Elmo's Fire" during the slo-mo montage.

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    We used to hafta draw uphill both ways in ten feet of snow, dang it...

    And we had to make our own snow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    We used to hafta draw uphill both ways in ten feet of snow, dang it...

    And we had to make our own snow.
    Barefoot by candlelight?

    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    SHHH. I'm just getting to the part where I had to be fitted with robotic drawing limbs because my arms fell off on account of the scurvy. It's very inspirational. It may or may not involve a cameo from the Virgin Mary and your experience will be greatly enhanced if you hum "St. Elmo's Fire" during the slo-mo montage.
    Hm hmm hmm hm hmm hmhmhmm
    hmhmhhhm hm hmhm hm
    Hm hm hmm hm hmhm
    Hmmmm hmmmm hm hmmmmhmmmm

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    I don't think you're born with the ability to draw no, that idea is silly. I do believe you can still be naturally skilled at art by technicality. You can be born with a natural passion for art, you can just be that kind of person who loves something so much they do it constantly and the act of it alone is enough to drive them. I believe really that lack of persistence is what makes it so there are people 5 years younger than me leagues more talented.

    They just put in the hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    Barefoot by candlelight?
    Candles? We didn't have no candles! We had to draw in the dark!

    With sticks! Chewed offa trees! And we had to fight off angry bears and beavers to get the sticks!

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    Few things more unpleasant than an angry beaver.

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    Watching that Stephen Wiltshire video reminded me of the Kim Jung-Gi 2007 & 2011 Sketch Collection thread. The assurance of both of their mark making, is mind boggling!

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    I'll share a story with you

    For most of my young life, I'd watched hours upon hours of television and acquired an impressive amount of video game time

    The only books I'd ever read were for school and even then I didn't finish them

    I had never wrote a story in my life and my english skills were beyond horrid, almost childish.

    When I turned 14 years old, my family became very poor because of a surgery I had. We couldn't afford it and so we had to sell our house and move in with my grandfather. When I got into the 9th grade my grades were horribly because I had incredibly low self-esteem problems.

    When I got into the tenth grade, I had read a poem by Robert Frost. It was the first time in my life I had ever read poetry (in a serious light, instead of an uninterested one)

    The words spoke to me and I began imagining ways to manipulate them. It was as if something had awoken in me. I began to write every day. I was like a sailboat on an endless ocean of words. I transformed my depression into poetry and made them complex and imaginative.

    And then I started winning writing contests and my fellow students were moved by my words. Many of them wanted copies of my work because it had stirred up something deep within their souls.

    Now I am in college and writing has become so natural to me that it's like breathing.


    So, as for my opinion on the subject, I believe it has to do with personality. My personality was changed when I became depressed and that built an immense passion for the craft within me.


    So it all has to do with how you see things, which can change at any time. And so I believe it's largely about environment. A child surrounded by art at an early age will, at later ages, have what others see as an "innate," gift. But really, it was just nurture at a young age that gave him an affinity and talent for art.


    So my advice to you, if you're starting out in art, is to not worry about innate talent and whether it exists or not. Draw,draw, and draw some more. And by the time you've become great at it, you won't care at all.

    Last edited by Saintmaikeru; August 19th, 2012 at 05:43 PM.
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    I believe some people are talented and others are not. However, talent without work will easily be surpassed by work without talent. I was a terrible, terrible writer once (to the point where reading it makes me cry because of how far I've come.) I would still be a terrible writer, had it not been for the fact that, growing up, I didn't have TVs or video games (excluding the Gameboy my mother got for three bucks at a pawn shop because the cashier pitied me, but I digress.) All I had was books. Books on biology, crime dramas, medical dictionaries, style books, English primers, etc.

    So, for lack of entertainment, I read. I read everything from my mothers books to the cereal box at breakfast, to the back of the shampoo bottle while I soaked in the tub. It certainly shows -- for my age, I am unusually gifted in word-smithing. Not because of talent, but because of hard work. I am in no doubt that one could do the same with artistry -- that is, grow from being so terrible that it's almost a crime against humanity to being as impressive as Salvador Dali (I was never a fan of da Vinci)

    I have a sketchbook. Why don't you go look? http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...47#post3481447
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