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.


About Brenda Hoddinott
Award-winning artist and author; illustrator, art educator, curriculum designer, co-owner of Drawspace.com, owner of Drawspace Publishing, and retired forensic artist Brenda has developed art curricula and taught multidisciplinary arts since 1980. During her 25-year career as a forensic artist, Brenda worked with diverse criminal investigative agencies including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Department of National Defense, private investigative agencies, and municipal police departments. Brenda and her partner John live in the suburbs of Halifax, Nova Scotia with their two SPCA rescue dogs: Timber the Huskador and Katie the Pitweiler. Their blended human family includes five adult children and two grandchildren. Books by Brenda Hoddinott include: 2012: Introduction to Contour Lines (Drawspace Publishing) 2012: Introduction to Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2011: Illustrated Dictionary of Art-Related Terms (Drawspace Publishing) 2010: Getting Started with Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2004: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing People Illustrated (Alpha Books) 2003: Drawing for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc.)

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