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Submitted on
August 24


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Does talent exist?

Journal Entry: Sun Aug 24, 2014, 3:37 PM

I know many people have different opinions about this. And here's what i think of it and why. I'll just answer the journal question up front, I think talent does not exist. And here's why:

Let's start with he question, what is talent? It's this magical thing that makes some people learn faster and develop faster than others in different fields. Let's take art for example, there are 2 different artists, both start at the same time to learn a concept and one learns faster than the other. But few people have stopped to ask themselves why that is? Is it talent, or is it something else?

Let me tell you a story about a guy who started an experiment to see if talent exists. He posted an add where he stated he's looking for a wife that will agree to marry him and let him test their children in this experiment. And they made 3 girls. The guy taught them all how to lay chess from a very early age, and lo and behold all of them became grandmasters in chess. This story is real, the guy is Laszlo Polgar and his 3 worl class chess playing daughters are  Susan Polgar  Sofia Polgar  Judith Polgar   Judith is said to be the strongest female chess player in history. The title grandmaster is given to the best of the best chess players in the world, and they all earned that title.  

Now, how did this happen? Do you think it's a coincidence they all became grandmasters, and they were born prodigies? What a coincidence that would be. 

Then why do some people become better faster and others don't.

There are more reasons for this.

1.)  Deliberate practice. What is that you might ask? Deliberate practice is designed to specifically improve performance. So let me make an example for you to understand better. There are 2 artists, they both draw stick figures. They both want to be able to draw super complex CG artwork. And one of them the next day draws yet another stick figure. And the next day, the same. The other one stops drawing stick figures and starts trying to draw  a super aweesome CG drawing trying as hard as he can to mimic how a CG drawing looks like. He will have a very poor imitation of a CG drawing at first. But the next day, that poor imitation will look better, and the next day better. In a year, he will be able to draw what he'ss ben practicing every day to draw. While the other one, will become an expert in stick figures. This is not a joke on artists who draw stick figures. I myself drew stick figures when i first started art. But have you noticed that even though everyone says they want to improve, if you go to most galleries you'll see they draw the same thing over and over? They wish to some day draw like <insert favorite artist> but they never actually try to do it. They don't deliberatelly go and say, well what does this artist do in these drawings anyway that they're so great? Don't think, maybe in a few years, i'll be able to start trying to maybe draw like this. Start now, take your favorite artist, analize what the elements are in their usual drawing, and draw one of your own. Even if you drew stick figures all this time,l dare you to draw all of a sudden, a dynamic pose, full background, details, with multiple characters ETC. It doesn't matter that it won't look like how you imagine it, in fact, it most likely WILL look like shit. Expect that before you even start. But try to make it look as un-shitty as possible. The point is to not get into a comfortable place where you draw the same thing over and over again. 

Don't get me wrong, you can become an amazing artist even if you take it the slow without pushing yourself. In fact very few artists push themselves to the extreme, because they started drawing really early in life and put in the hours way before everyone else.

2.) Put in the hours! Another guy said that to master any skill, it requires 10.000 hours of work. He made a study on music university students. And interviewed them. Music also is said to be this elusive talent only thing. Well he discovered that the best players were the ones who studied more every day. And among the best of the best students who studied many hours AND the same number of hours every day, he discovered that the better student (who played better and had better grades) was the one who had studdied more hours per day in his past. So if there are 2 artists who both work their asses off, at the same time, the one who drew more in the past, will be better at it. But both the ones who work a lot every day, will be better than the ones who study less. So it's not about talent who gives the best guy and extra edge, it's that in the past, he put in more hours. 

Think of the implications.

If you never drew a line in your life, you are 10.000 hours or so away from becoming a master in art.

But chances are you did draw in the past. So look on the bright side, you're closer than that. Now all you need to do is put in those hours. :) Make a calculation for yourself. Maybe in the past, you only got to draw for 2.000 hours (even that is a lot), well now you need to put in 8.000 more hours, say you are willing to give art 2 hours of your day that's 14 hours per week, that's 730 hours per year. So if you keep this up every day (every single day) you'll be a master in 10 years. But then there are days you're sick, there are hollydays, Christmass, let's add another year there to make ti realistic. You'll be a master in 11 years :D
Yes, it's a lot, i know it's not easy. But everyone would be a master if it would be easier :) 

Want faster results? Don't skip days,  and put in more hours per day. 
I made  this poll  where i asked what are everyone's first drawing they ever made, and guess what, no one drew Mona Lisa. What a surprise. 

What is your number? In how many years can you become a master? What age will you be when that will happen? Envision it :D Dude, it will be 2020  when i'll become a master! make your own calculation and see if that will motivate you more not to give up on art. Or to stop thinking you're unlucky because you weren't born with this elusive thing called 'talent'. :iconbonklers:

By the way, check out my art book  HERE pre-orders are limited until September 20th! 

*disclaimer, i am not saying I am a master, not yet, but i do put in 8 hours daily so i think i'm getting there :)

Add a Comment:
youmusi22 Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2014
Talent is exist. but talent without hardwork = 0
MythsFlight Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I agree, but at the same time I think there is more to it than that. For me talent stems from someone having an interest and desire to spend time doing something.
Weather it comes in the form the encouragement of others or your own way of thinking. There are many other things that can push us to do something as well.
But more often than not what I see people value as a talent are the things they enjoy doing more so than the things they are just able to do after some time.
Like an emotional link to their accomplishments and those they wish to achieve.
MorriganBlue Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2014
To some extent, I agree. If you work hard, you WILL get there. But I believe it is more complicated than this, so to speak, there are people who get there faster because they have some traits. And I believe the most important of it is creativity. Because you aren't using creativity just to let's say... set up a background composition or create a design. You also use it to create a technique, to come up with solutions for fixing some mistakes or anything. And I feel like talent is not a specific thing, it's a term that defines a broad spectrum of traits that help you be the awesome artist you are. 
nancyju Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014
what do think of creativity?
i believe if you practise something, i'll learn the technique.
but, i don't think i'm creative enough and not sure if i should make art my career
Hm, after reading your article I can agree at an individual level. I have to admit that I thought once start drawing but I'm already on a career that I couldn't divert resources to draw seriously. It's just because when I read about the 10,000 hour story, I think in Statistic terms: the correct is that a person turns into a master after 10,000 hours of practice in average. Which means, if we consider that the population has a normal distribution (… ) which means that most people will take 10,000 hours, but there are people who will take 9,900 hours or 10,100 hours, but those are less common. What makes a person need 9,900 hours instead of 10,000? So much things, but theory treats it as random.

Again, I'm talking by another perspective, a purely statistical one - in the aggregate there will be people who can become masters in less time but, again, I don't think it's relevant for a simple reason: what kind of artist is documenting all hours spending practicing? I mean, an artist will simply practice, even if he or she has a schedule, can you imagine someone, with a chronometer moments away from reaching the 10,000th hour saying "Now I am a master"?

Granted, when we include more actors like employers, some things change; they would pay a good amount to discover people that can become masters in 9,900 hours because it saves 100 hours of investment for them. Again, talent may not be the rightest word, affinity might be a better one, but, again, it may be true in the aggregate but individually it's not relevant because you have to practice a lot yet.
Kites1224 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014  Hobbyist
But is it really possible for one to become so good that its impossible to get any better?
Kites1224 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014  Hobbyist
fableweaver55 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
And that's hitting the nail on the head. No matter what your discipline, be it painting, writing or sports, the same advice would definitely apply.
o-Enide-o Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014
Well, I think the contrary, all can learn to draw well or sing or something else but it can't be denied that someone has something more that truly remains into people mind. In my opinion, to have an excellent tecnique it's not enough to be considered a great artist. The works will always lack of something.Only some people can produce sublime works since all we have personal inclination. I can do many different examples.
Patrucca Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014  Student General Artist
Oddly enough, I just figured this up before reading this journal... It will take me 5 years at 5 hours a day to master art. :)

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