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I’m not Talented

Most people, even those that are interested, won’t pick up drawing or painting or take classes or workshops because they think, “I’m not an artist, I have no talent, I’ll be bad at it.”

This my friends, is THE TALENT MYTH and is crap. Crap, crappity crap crap.


Early “Proof”…

When I was in grade one I was sent to the principal’s office with a note from my teacher and a message for my parents. My assumption was that I was in the deepest possible do-do and the remainder of my life would be spent in my room.

My parents. The PRINCIPAL…. whoa, this was big.

Turns out that my teacher Ms. Toomsalu, thought I had artistic talent and should be enrolled in extra curricular art classes.

*instant relief* I was not in fact, destined to live out the rest of my life cloistered in my bedroom.

So, Early “Proof”…

…is NOT an Accurate Identifier of Talent

For the majority of people, the only artistic skill that is really identifiable at an early age is representational skill; the ability to make stuff look like stuff you know. Elementary teachers aren’t generally artists, those that actually have art as a teachable are most often found in high school. Public school teachers aren’t trained to recognize non-representational art & design skills. This isn’t their fault – most of the general public aren’t trained to recognize anything other than realistic representational art. Development of art skills is not a high priority in grade school.

My recollection of art in elementary school was more craft than art; cut and paste, glitter and glue. I suspect now that “art time” was actually “useless-busy-work-time-filler” because there was no instruction offered and building art skills wasn’t on the agenda.

“Real Art”

My friend John has been a teacher and creator of art curriculum in the TDSB for YEARS. He’s retired now, well… sort of. He retired into teaching teachers how to teach art at UoIT.

Years ago he developed an art curriculum for teachers in junior grades. The teachers dubbed it “Real Art” because it was. John brought the foundations of visual art into the junior public classroom for probably the first time. But this is rare and at the time there was a lot of resistance to the curriculum by the teachers themselves. It was outside their comfort zone and they didn’t feel qualified to bring it into their classrooms.

As a result of this thinking, I see a lot of colouring sheets handed out; representational images to be filled in with appropriate colours. The sky is blue, trees are green. Points off for colouring outside the lines.
This is strictly in the box, left brain thinking and supporting one very small aspect of visual art: “make it look like something I can identify”.

Download your own “identifiable animals” colouring pages:

Download, print and colour. IN. THE. LINES. Or not - your choice!

Download, print and colour... using ONLY purple, orange and green. Or whatever - your choice!

Drawing stuff that looks like real stuff is no indication of authentic artistic talent or inclination.
According to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, my supposed superior artistic ability had less to do with talent and more to do with being born in March. Being born in the beginning of the year meant that I was bigger and had better hand-eye coordination than my younger classmates. Not necessarily talent, just more practice.

And maybe I became “talented” because I was told that I was talented.

Were you considered talented in art as a child? If not art, what? Did you continue with it?

"Live creative."
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I stumbled across Michal’s watercolours on deviantArt some time ago. I find my way back to his site every few weeks to bask in the glory of his colour. I love how this guy paints. I love the colour washes, the flow, the lost edges and the light in his work. I love the layers […]

Hello and welcome to Art A&A number 19. I am Lezley Davidson with The Artist as Today I’d like to talk to you about artistic style. It’s a question that a lot of artists concern themselves with, especially in the beginning… A unique style, a personal style, what’s my style? I need to develop […]

The “Merch Artists” are the illustrators, designers, painters, cartoonists and artisans that are creating pop culture inspired art and merchandise for sale directly to the consumer. They have become more plentiful as the rise of Comic, Sci-fi, Fantasy and Pop Culture conventions have become more popular. The “Geek as mainstream creates a huge market for merch artists.

The last Free Watercolour lesson video – Dry Brush! Learn to create texture for old barns, wood, rocks, grass, dirt and other organic substances perfectly suited to the dry brush technique!

But writing is important. Writing is a bridge to your art. It’s a way for people to connect.

New York City is one of the most eclectic art scenes in the world for artists and visitors. Symbols of artistic recognition and fame include prominent museums, leading edge galleries, cutting edge artists, top art critics, and trade shows like Art Expo.

Avoid the artists who tells you that they’ve “done it” and “it doesn’t work.” These artists will tell you that they contacted the right people, sent out the correct material, created the work that the public wanted, and even after doing all of this, they still didn’t get anywhere.

There is no shortage of artists producing very good work. I see lots of it every day. It takes more than just believing in yourself as an artist and creating good art to have an art business.