Understanding Talent Part 3

Individuals progress at their own special pace.

Drawing is as natural a human activity as learning to walk or talk. From the ancient caves of prehistoric humans to the tombs of Egyptian and Native peoples all over the world, we have found evidence that humans used art to communicate and immortalize events and objects precious to their lives and cultures. The creators of these ancient artworks were probably not disparaged by self-doubt – they made art because it was the natural thing to do.

From the beginnings of recorded history to modern day, prodigies have been considered to be persons who acquire a special ability with little effort, and talent is understood by many to only include these prodigies. However, most prodigies begin to obsessively work to develop their skills when they are very young. By continuing to challenge themselves, they discover their ability to transcend to extraordinary levels of technical competence. 

Not everyone can become a prodigy, but everyone can develop talent. You are a unique individual with diverse abilities. Be patient with yourself: drawing skills develop over time. If your dream is to be a talented artist, you need to be true to yourself. Hard work, patience and devotion inevitably challenge a mediocre artist to become an exceptional artist.

Below is a fun, fantasy painting titled “Serendipity” that I created many years ago.


Understanding Talent Part 2

“Talent” is a word often misunderstood.

Talented artists are often presented to us through movies, television, and media as magical and mysterious eccentrics. In the art world, you often hear critics hailing such things as random blobs of paint on a canvas, digital accidents, or even human excrement as “great works of art.”

If you’re anything like me, you struggle to understand this art. You’re often left scratching your head, amused and puzzled. The critics encourage you to believe that these artworks are the result of “extraordinary talent”. No wonder so many people believe that talent itself is magical, elusive, and not within the grasp of mere mortals such as us!

However, even the bizarre or zany stuff is usually great for a few giggles. There will always be artists who rely on shock value to achieve recognition. However, the general population seems to respect artists who demonstrate strong technical skills in their style of choice, whether representational, impressionistic, or abstract.

Talent is simply a process of self-discovery in which individuals acknowledge their interest and motivation to become exceptional in a specific area.

People are by far my favorite drawing subjects. This representational drawing was rendered with crosshatching almost 20 years ago of a very talented former student. :o)


Understanding Talent Part 1

Insights into myths about art and artists

Thankfully, nobody ever told me I couldn’t draw.

As an introverted child, I was oblivious to the meaning of the word “talent”. Drawing entertained me for hours and provided me with something everybody needs – a sense of being special. The respect and praise of a friend, relative, or teacher gave me a boost of self-confidence and increased my yearning to improve my drawing skills. However, growing up in the small town of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, it was sometimes difficult to access the information necessary to improve these skills.

The small public library became a serendipitous haven. I spent many hours devouring everything I could find about art – from children’s picture books, to encyclopedias with photographs of art by the Great Masters. I was rarely without inspiration or subject material for drawing.

My greatest love was drawing faces. I thrived on the challenge of being able to draw likenesses of friends and celebrities. This early interest in faces ultimately brought me beyond the frustrations of self-education into a very rewarding and diverse career in art.

By the time I discovered that many people believe “drawing” is very difficult or requires a special talent, I was already well on my way to becoming a technically skilled artist.

A drawing I created at age 15 (approximately)


In 1993 I rendered this detailed drawing of a dagger from a photograph. Contrasting values identify its forms, textures and patterns according to the light and dark values created by the dominant light source.


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