Do You Need To Have Talent?

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  • I made the transition to do illustration in recent years. I went to art school for design education and worked as a designer for many years. But the reason I did not pursue fine art was that I did not get into the fine art study (I tried 2 times). The rejections made me believed that I was not talented/good enough to be an artist. I stopped drawing/painting for 15 years before I picked it up again. Since my design education was in art schools, I always joked that I was an art school student who does not know how to draw.

    I agree there is probably something about natural talent. But I almost wanted to ignore that, because if I grew up in a culture that values hard work rather than talent, I might stick with what I truely love to do and kept trying to get better and never left the path of pursuing to be an artist in the first place.

    I love the Ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert about creative genius. In her talk, she mentioned how she spoke to this creavtive genius of hers:
    "Listen you, thing, you and I both know that if this book isn't brilliant that is not entirely my fault, right? Because you can see that I am putting everything I have into this, I don't have any more than this. If you want it to be better, you've got to show up and do your part of the deal...."

  • I was also rejected from the art program - twice. I got in on my third try and I got a C at the beginning of all my art classes and ended at a B+ or A-.

    I personally don't think natural talent has anything to do with becoming a professional, they are usually just someone who has been at it for longer or is better at learning things quickly (possibly due to necessity and humility as they suggested). Or honestly just someone who hasn't believed the person or society who told them it wasn't possible to make it as an artist. I was never the best in school, not even in high-school and definitely not in college. And even as a professional been told I wasn't skilled as an Illustrator.

    I too feel frustrated when someone says "oh you're so talented" as it feels dismissive to the literal blood, sweat and tears I've put into becoming an artist.

    But, I'm too stubborn to stop or believe it's not possible to make it at an artist, so I continue working to improve, and I think that's the main reason I've been able have art be my full time career

  • I think a lack of natural ability can be overcome by effort to a point, but not everyone has the free time, support systems and encouragement it takes to get there.

  • SVS OG

    Great episode as always!

    To answer the first question of the episode, YES this is a huge business!!!!!!!!!!!! Licensing, surface pattern design, greeting cards and so on!!!!! I think her name was Lilly.

    Just wanted to add a few educators that I use as far as licensing and surface pattern design. This isn't to say that SVS isn't the source I refer everyone to that is building a foundation in art or interested in illustration. You guys are the best in this genre by far!!!!! but here are a few that have insane programs!

    Bonnie Christine and Katie Hunt are pretty elite in the education industry in their niches. Bonnie does surface pattern design but heavy on the business and licensing areas as well. Everything from an intense training in illustrator for repeat patterns to a monthly membership that covers all the phases of making a business. Things that are covered are email lists, contracts, pitching to companies. TONS!

    I am not a member of Katie Hunt's proof to product, but she is the real deal. She focuses on stationary. Really manufacturing and making your own products.

    I have spoken with Stacey Bloomfield of Gingerber and she is an amazing educator as well. Focuses on multi revenue streams.

    Take as many free mini courses as possible to see which educator suits you best.

    Good luck and can't wait to see your products in target!

    But still love you guys at SVS. I promise.

  • I have an interesting story regarding the talent part.

    I always remember having huge drawing difficulties, but always having my art teachers telling I was super talented. Even with my difficulties and my constant avoidance of drawing, I went to arts on secondary school, and ended up in a fine arts university.
    And I was so behind everyone else on drawing... so, so behind. At the end of the first semester, I thought I would flunk the class. I had a 13 (from 1 to 20).

    When I talked to the teacher on why I had the same grade of people who drew better,
    he said that if he picked the 1st and last drawings from half the class, there was no evolution at all. But if he picked mine, he would see the biggest evolution in the class.
    In the end he said that he was a teacher his entire life (he was almost 80 by then), and through his experience, he could bet that in 10 years, I would still be drawing and would have a art related career, but he doubted that half the other students would, even the ones who seemed better than me. I thought he was just being nice, but damn he was actually right. Bless that teacher, I don't know if I would still be here if he wasn't so supportive. He made me go from avoiding drawing every time I could, to "drawing is my passion".

    So, I'm not sure about talent, I'm not sure what that teacher saw in me, and I know my path has been hard because of my drawing difficulties, and that my career could be way more advanced if drawing came easier for me, but I also know that with effort, you can get far. Also, I would be way more advanced if I had just stick with drawing, drawing, drawing instead of going through the design path for so many years, but well, it was easier to make money on design, and I learned a ton on that path too so...

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @TaniaGomesArt that is a great story! I would like to elaborate on that point. Many times in the class the person I think is the "best" will not be the one with the most developed skills at that point. Their work wont be as polished, or as accurate, but still there is something there. Sometimes I can see that "x factor" even in a total beginners work, it just hasn't been totally exposed yet.

  • SVS OG

    @TaniaGomesArt Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am going to share this with my daughter. It's such a great example of how growth and passion come differently to everyone. I've been trying to give her examples this week from other artists that she is just at the beginning and that it's all about how much you love it and also how much you work at it. Thanks again!!!!!

  • @Whitney-Simms Glad you find it useful. I always get amazed with the different paths people went through. When I started on SVS, I was a bit frustrated that at my age, I was still trying, I was still learning, I was going to the basics AGAIN, and I was still struggling with so many things in drawing. Since I'm here, I've been seeing so many different stories, people that started later than me, people that started at my age and are now successful... It made me feel much better with myself for sure. 🙂

  • @versaceian Same here. I always drew cartoons and my own comics since I was a little kid. I added cartoons and comics in projects at every chance I had throughout school — projects, essays, all over my binders, cassette and CD labels (even floppy disks), even in chalk on my uniform (I got bawled out by a teacher for that one).

    It wasn’t until post-secondary when I took proper art classes so it was always a passion thing for me. My talent, I think, came from having read a ton of Peanuts comics as a kid. Or at least, that’s how I learned to draw and set up scenes.

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