On Being An Artist

Well, I had my art exam on Monday - a 5-hour mock. It was all right, actually. Although we weren't supposed to talk, everyone did - there was quite the spirit of camaraderie in the room, I think, at least for me. I learnt quite a few things about art in that room, but also in my life as a whole. It's an incomplete list, but I'd like to put it down all the same.

Talent is innate. Someone can be good at drawing without having been taught, and that person will almost always be better than a person without innate talent. It's sad, but it's true.

That said, a person without innate talent can learn how to draw - but it will take blood, sweat, toil and tears. It's not impossible to learn to draw without any talent for it, just difficult - and it takes a lot of time. You have to work twice as hard for half the results an innately talented person would get.

Self-teaching will only get you so far without someone helping you. Again, this is true. I've learnt a lot from teaching myself, but I still have much more to learn - and most of that learning I need to do from teachers or guides, because teaching myself has only gotten me so far. I still need to look to others for help.

You can be creative without being talented. If this statement doesn't make much sense, maybe I need to explain it to you. Being creative is having loads and loads and loads of aesthetic ideas, while being talented is the means to getting those ideas across. You can have one without the other.

Art is hard work. To those of you who think it's just sitting down and moving your hand: it isn't. It's actually quite mentally taxing and, if you're doing any serious work, you'll be tired and drained at the end - at the very least. A girl I know, who went to London and won an award in an art competition which was at least A-Level standard if not higher (seriously, check out her blog, her art is amazing - to the girl in question: sorry for spreading you all over the internet, but I couldn't resist sharing your awesomeness with the world), drew until her hands cramped up and hurt. That's dedication for you. It requires concentration, mental effort and constant little tweaks - even for the innately talented ones. It's one of the hardest things you can do, I think.

You never stop learning, ever. There's always more stuff out there which you can learn from and always more stuff which can inspire you.

Above all, it's really fun. It's even more fun if you've learnt it - it's strangely enjoyable to sit down, work really damn hard, and at the end of it see how awesome the fruits of your labour are.