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Many people are under the assumption many of the high profile artists in the digital art community are mainly good because of talent. This is not completely true(in my opinion). What does make them great is the simple fact of constant and regular practice. But if you still like to cling to the word, then talent is just in other words an ambition and motivation. This word,"talent" has been branded with something that you think is something that can only be inherited and if you dont have it you are doomed to fail. Many people has lost potential careers because of this.

well folks let me put that myth to rest because i think anyone with ambition and motivation can learn any tool and any skill.And if you are not learning it, it is because you are not working hard enough on it.its simple as that.The practice will open your eyes and you will develop to see things in different ways, once again this has nothing to do with talent.  Once your understanding of all the levels of art gets wider you will be able to do more because you have seen it, worked with it and practiced it.

a good example on how to test yourself is to simply to do master copies, and the majority of artist who do it are very successful. And many artists in production and in personal art use reference for their work. In a sense learning and replicating some aspects of a reference weather its design, lighting, palette or texture.And by doing this all that information is being stored in your visual memory and gets added to the experience bit by bit. Slowly that will build up and your visual vocabulary becomes that much bigger. You have become better not because you had a secret power you were born with but just because you took all that visual information in and learned it.

so don't be afraid to tackle things because of this word, instead , observe learn and be inspired.

And yes a good visual eye takes many many years to develop and impatience is something that frustrates many people who are developing their skills, and so they give up claiming that they dont have "talent". Once again the success comes from ambition motivation and just a fuck ton of practice. Your whole artistic life is ment to be constantly practicing.

but take one day at a time and with persistence you WILL see results.

i think a lot of high profile artists would agree with this, because we all went through these stages and we have reached new levels of artistic understanding.And we still strive for learning more.


so it's fun to see people react to this  so here is more text to read:)  yay


* this is not about disputing the existence of talent, its about the idea that practice is everything when it comes to any kind of development. Talent is simply our brain being more efficient because we are learning and we are enjoying it.

* yes true prodigies exist(savants or people who have developed a keen sense to learn) BUT how can we really know how they got there, Take Mozart, a prodigy, a genius , composed music since he was 5-6? but he also lived a life of touring and shows, and his father was his stern teacher.Imagine a life of music everyday in and out, you breath it you live it. Your brain will see patterns, learn melodies, remember keys, memorize harmonious combinations etc etc. Of course you will be very quick to outrun other people because they had not been exposed to the same factors of learning.

* we can tell that someone is doing something good with ease, but its hard to know for fact how they got there.The girl who plays piano beautifully is "talented", but what we dont know is that she played that piano and that piece a thousand times.My own sister who was great at drawing said she gave up because i had more "talent" but she didnt know i was up almost every night drawing.

And yes hard work does pay off, if you are keen to be fast , you haveto do it more and you haveto love doing it. Someone who hates it will never learn or develop, neither the one who does not take initiatives.
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:iconzirothar:
zirothar Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013
Each individual has a physiological plateau. Example: A professional tennis player who had been playing since he was 3 years old but never managed to win Wimbledon or become the world number 1 [link] . He was by average standards a successful player, but not likely to be remembered as a great player like Pete Samprass.

The same could be expressed with someone who has played guitar their whole life, and by normal standards is good. He can play by ear and regularly does session work and writes and plays their own music. But Slash will always be better than him.

Talent is something intangible. A quantum-level neurological difference that can't be replicated in another even with the same experience and knowledge. This is your personal physiological plateau of ability. Most people, barring physiological problems, will have the potential to be very good at most things, providing they put in the work to practice, thus improve. However, most people who put in the practice and hard work will not achieve greatness, win an Olympic medal, or become a professional concept artist. Also, your plateau of ability will begin to fall sometime in your twenties [link]. Meaning your ability to develop your skills will become harder over time and a decrease in ability is going to occur even though more knowledge may be attained. Yes, I am suggesting that sometimes it IS too late to learn.

This isn't to mention perpetual evolutionary flux, meaning that certain individuals have genetic differences/mutations advancing their natural physical and neaurological ability.

Or, maybe all those snooker players who can't beat Ronnie O'Sullivan just aren't putting the effort in!
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:iconweebasaurus:
weebasaurus Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013  Professional Filmographer
I guess deep down many of us believe this and knows it, atleast for myself. However, as an enemy most artist share , I'm constantly struggling with myself for not doing good enough work. Whenever I see a great artist works and I look back at mine.

"They make it look easy, so simple and fast. The principles, so solid etc etc..... Why can't I ever get there ?!"

I know it's all hardwork and practice. I do. But It's pain to see what I produce even come close to what I want. Don't want to come off as a whiner, but I guess this is the process of learning and growth of an artist. Just have to accept it !

Thanks for the few sharings on your journal lately. Just have you know that you're one of the many artist I look up to =D best of luck !
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:iconnonwings:
nonwings Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
i have discussed this matter many times with my friends, Im glad to see someone who I respect so much agrees with me on this one.
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:iconparmjeet-johal:
Parmjeet-Johal Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
I've never liked the word talent, well said.
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:iconvinterdragen:
vinterdragen Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well, you said it. I've tackled around this theme a lot. Is common to hear from people "hey you are so talented", "God gave you such a gift" with that gesture of -you do it good by birth's grace and that makes it easy-.It feels like all your hardwork has been negated. It used to bother me... but now I don't care, I try to see if someone has any dream and tell them "HEY!, You can do it!".

I totally agree with you and I think that we can buildup any skill, unless you have any physiological limitation (which in many cases can be tackled out and find other way to develop it).

Great post! thanks by sharing your thoughts.
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:iconleventep:
leventep Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional Filmographer
at the same time it's quite odd to hear someone say "ooh you worked so hard" in stead of "ooh your so talented", it has become such a common phrase that the first one here even may come off as somewhat offensive, which it isn't.
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:iconvinterdragen:
vinterdragen Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
lol yeah xD

Look this article at Muddycolors, is by the industry veteran Greg Manchess, which speaks about talent too.

[link]
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:icondennisdarmody:
DennisDarmody Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
This is a bit of the re-motivation I think, as artists, we all need once in a while. We all get burned out, or hit a block of sorts, or sometimes "life" happens and we struggle to get back in the groove.

I have discussed fr years that I believe anyone can become an excellent artists for the exact reasons you mention here. A lot of it first involves getting beyond the notion that have to have the "talent" or "gift" for it. Then comes, unshackling mind of your perceptions of visual anatomy (ie. don't draw what your mind thinks a tree looks like, rather, draw the tree in front of you; don't draw what your mind remembers your girlfriend to look like, but actually draw her or draw from an upside-down photo... etc.)

Thank you for this and your emotive and inspiring art.
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:icongr4y-inu:
gr4y-inu Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013
nice article, really enjoyed reading it!
on art side i would agree about 98%, though there are people with wider view of things, imagination is only limit right, so not everyone can be an artist, everyone can draw technically perfect, but an artist, there are still those few percent who just won't and can't. i totally agree that many people just give up before even really trying, blaming it all on some mystic talent.
on side of sciences (math, physics, biology etc), it - talent - ability to grasp wide array of knowledge and use it in short period of time manifests itself even more. i've seen people learning as hard as they can, but can never break a barrier and be at the top.
i don't believe that anyone can do anything and be really good at it, therefore talent matters, ability to do things in field you're working. let's make it simple - afro american people from Kenya are the best runners, because their bodies are built that way and you will very rarely see afro americans being among best swimmers, same goes for brain and its abilities.
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:icondelta2094:
Delta2094 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Strong post. Totally agree.
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:iconleventep:
leventep Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Well if you guys felt this little journal helped out a bit , do spread it around. And thanks for reading. I am hoping to touch on different things in more future journals
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:iconcyberarts1st:
cyberarts1st Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I totally agree! I never considered myself having a talent. I just enjoy what I do and learn from each drawings that I produce, since i can hold a pencil with my baby fingers. Even my illustration commissions are a practice for me, because I often have to draw a scene that forced me out of my confort zone.
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:iconagitpop:
agitpop Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013
right on, levente! for a very interesting and reasoned study of this, check out malcolm gladwell's book OUTLIERS. in a nutshell, he gives many examples of how certain conditions give rise to success and mastery, one of which is his rule of 10,000 hours, which is the number he claims is the number it takes to "master" something. a fun read.
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:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hey , nice post and sentiment. Any artist who has started on the self improvement journey, seriously, understands this intuitively. The word talent gets abused by those who haven't. I'd like to chuck in my two cents which is that I like to think of talent as two things; your unique achievable potential, and how fast you can learn and then apply the learning to getting better. These two things I believe are talent, the rest is pure, plain and simple, bust a gut hard work. I wish someone had sat me down and told me this in my youth, but it's never too late to get started.
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:iconjonight:
jonight Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013   General Artist
thanks for this. i haven't been doing anything at all for a very long time.. ;/
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:iconbalancomics:
BalanComics Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Totally with you here. Talent is 90% hard work, practice, and acquired skills, and 10% innate ability, in my opinion. Of course, that work and practice will stick so much better if you love what you're doing (that's actually scientific - the brain remembers things we care about better) so to me, passion is also an ingredient. If you love it and work hard at it, I think anyone can become an expert - with time, of course.
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:iconshunpei90:
shunpei90 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
Thanks for the reminder, you have no idea how much I needed that.
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:iconspiderwish:
SpiderWish Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I couldn't agree more. I would like to see more people finally understanding that art comes from your heart and then with time it develops thanks to your brain. It requires effort and motivation. It's not just pretty and lovable images.

Ever since I'm little I've heard people tell me I'm talented and amazing, that I would be a great artist and that they couldn't even draw a simple dog. That made me happy, but I never felt understood, no one was sensitive to art and they thought it was just that simple for me. I didn't get enough critiques :/

On the other side, my parents always thought I wasn't good enough and would never get a job as an artist....because I didn't have the "talent".

That just makes me angry, some people need to grow up and know that there's more to what our eyes see. Nevertheless, it just makes me want to work harder!

Thanks for the journal post, it reminds me of what really matters :)
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:icontedkimart:
TedKimArt Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Agreed, practice and discipline is the main thing, I also appreciate the footnotes you added which will help clarify things for those who may be conflicted about the role of 'talent' ;)
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:iconel-andyjack:
El-Andyjack Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
Totally agree it's like that hip hop song...

"This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain"
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:iconbalancomics:
BalanComics Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Love that tune. Very true.
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:iconconceptbloke:
Conceptbloke Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
It also helps to learn the core fundamentals - perspective, lighting, anatomy, form, colour theory. Knowing how to use and understand these are key.
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:iconleventep:
leventep Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Filmographer
you should check out my previous journal post, it ties together with the neglect of not learning these things because the digital art tools have developed so well lots of people skip the art basics because of it.
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:iconsanskarans:
Sanskarans Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional
There is a main point you forgot to mention,i.e. Childhood interest and passion .
Believe me there are some out there who comes to this field without passion and actually been able attain everything, only because they have taught by masters.This is sad.

They sees this as " concept art has some great job opportunities I could even work on films , games ... makes some money..and get famous :D ".

This is wrong .Only people with true passion deserves to be the part of this and they should the one taught.Many people out there who haven't able to learn the fundamentals and art techniques because they haven't enough money to spend on art institutes.

So i think institutes should understand the students,their passion before giving them the true spot
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:iconleventep:
leventep Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Filmographer
i think we touched on it too in the comments, well those people will excel only sofar, they need to start thinking as artists if they want to develop. School and teachings are the sole base, the rest is you
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:iconsanskarans:
Sanskarans Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional
But i have seen many people succeeded in that way.Only because of they had put their money on well known training centers and they are trained by masters.Well the real dreamers just sit and watch these products :drool:

This has to change .Industry should understand these 'Products' and only should be given the right position they deserves.The people with true passion should be considered and appreciated more.
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:iconpyrink:
Pyrink Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
Talent = Sensibility, of course practice makes "perfect", but talent & practice make much more.
Think back to your kindergarten days, maybe you were one of the kids that drew well (for that age), while other kids didn't pay attention to some details, shapes, expressions, etc. this is a result of you being attuned to a visual language more than others i.e. more sensible to visual art.

But that's just my opinion ☺
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:icononmitsu:
Onmitsu Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
This is exceedingly well put, and something that is applicable to almost every area of life. I taught biology undergrads at a major university, and often I heard students moan about "So-and-so is sooo smart" or "Ugh, I don't get this science stuff". It's hard work and effort. Deeper understanding of difficult concepts is the payout for taking the time to study and understand them. When I explain my immunological research to people, sometime's I'll hear "You must be really smart". I'll smile and correct them with "Not smart, just stubborn"!
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:iconcryptcrawler:
Cryptcrawler Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
You know this is so well said, thanks for getting this all down.
I hope a lot of artists just starting out happen to stumble along this blog entry and take it to heart because what you're touching upon is so critical and really the key to success in really any profession.

I love your work, by the way.

What we do is 95% hard work, 5% talent.
It's that pure.

Those who excel at their chosen path in life are not special, elite or of the privileged few.
They are simply willing to suffer for the craft that they love.
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:iconladyangelwings:
LadyAngelWings Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Couldn't have said it any better myself! :) Nicely done
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:iconsoulburn3d:
soulburn3d Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Great article, talent to me is just obsession. When I go home after a day of work making art, I open up an art book and look at images, or I draw, or I paint my own stuff. I am driven to make art, I think about it all day long without the need to force myself, I just naturally find it fascinating. And that's what leads to results, loving something and that helps you put in the time to get skillful at it.
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:iconartefilippo:
artefilippo Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional General Artist
I always tell people the same words as You said, but usually it is hopeless to change theirs mind. Thanks for writing this article :)
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:iconwolkenfels:
Wolkenfels Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
For me i think that if there is talent then it manifests in the creativity and not in the technical skills.
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:iconjoelwhite:
JoelWhite Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Heck yeah!
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:iconkamakru:
Kamakru Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
Love this, so true. Drives me nuts lol
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:icononestepart:
onestepart Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Totally agree with this definition! It's sad to see someone not put in their all just cause they believe in "talent" and that they don't "have it".

As the great Craig Mullins once said; Persistence is the only talent you need.

It could be that people generally underestimate how many hours one really has to put in to reach a "master" level in this thing, it's quite insane actually hehe :)
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:iconleventep:
leventep Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional Filmographer
yes and i can whole heartily agree with that.Its a wonderful thing to see the world through a practiced artists eyes. you will notice things you have not before. you will suddenly stop in the street to see how beautifully the light play can be when it hits the right spots.Mundane things will occur more interesting.
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:icononestepart:
onestepart Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Exactly, one's appreciation of life in a whole increases. I can't even remember how i used to think about a lot of things prior to picking this craft up. Keep up the good work Levi, and it's great to see you tackle these subjects.
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:iconcowmi:
cowmi Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Nicely said! For me, whether or not people are born with a predisposition/natural talent for art is not the issue; I'm sure there are many people who learn things and process them faster than others - however, like you said, no one will ever become a master if they don't practice a lot. :) Art shouldn't be about talent - it should be about what you make of the hard work and years you've put into your art.
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:iconcatwagons:
Catwagons Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Finally. I can't agree with you more. It rubs me the wrong way when people say, "I'll never be able to do that, you're so talented," when they look at a piece of clothing, art work, jewelry, or music I make. I subscribe to many forms of art, but I have put time and thousands of hours of dedication into each one. I didn't wave a magic wand to learn how to play piano-- I sat there and stumbled out my favourite songs over and over until I had the basics, and then I kept doing that for 15 years until I could compose my own melodies.

It's the same with anything that anyone is good at-- hard work, learning, and patience yield the results. I started drawing stick figures when I was younger and now I draw other things, but I am by no means where I want to be. They say it takes 10,000 hours of work or more for the brain to master a skill-- a theory which I wholeheartedly believe.

Anyone who lays the excuse of talent on why they can't do something they want to is just too lazy to try.
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:iconfresh-h:
Fresh-H Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
Well written. I dont like when people say: youre so talented... NO! People are good because they practice alot. You see a 8 year old kid good at drawing, or maybe football.. yes maybe because that person spends 10 hour a day doing it... dont take that away from that person by saying: you're so lucky you got born with talent... no no no, go practice practice practice and you will be good at it too!!!!
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:iconnightmargin:
NightMargin Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I used to hold this view! But there's just something that doesn't quite add up to the HARD WORK + HARD WORK = PROFIT theory....

some people are simply born with certain predispositions (maybe a more keen perception of colors or shapes, for example), and those who hone it are what we call "talented artists". Some people can learn certain skills in mere weeks while it could take other people YEARS, even with the same amount of effort invested. Child prodigies are a thing [link]

It's always a good idea to motivate yourself to work harder, that's true, and it IS certainly possible to work yourself to the bone until you've matched the level of prodigies. But don't ignore the fact that raw talent really DOES exist. It's out there. It's everywhere.
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:iconkamikaze-88:
KamikaZe-88 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I completely agree with this. Some people just have the talent and takes a shorter time to master a certain skill than other people. Talent exists.
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:iconleventep:
leventep Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional Filmographer
talent does exist, but its because they have been exposed to the field they are efficient at in an earlier stage.They have become quick to learn. The funny thing is that we never question how they got there. For instance does the kid suddenly stand up and start to walk, no they crawl, and they get quicker, they then adapt and balance. Same with speech, do babies start talking right away, no they mumble, interpret make noises and see reactions and so start finally constructing words.Now the "talent" part or practice in this is how quick they do it and how often at it, this can depend on lots of things. parents, desire to walk or talk etc etc. A baby who does not desire to move will be slower in development compared to the active one.
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:iconkamikaze-88:
KamikaZe-88 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You make good points :)
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:iconderelictsnowwhite:
derelictSnowWhite Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:hug: hope! thank you!
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:iconk04sk:
k04sk Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
had this conversation with someone not too long ago , I usually make a effort to called a good artist skilled instead of talented . Just because I feel most amazing artists took many many years to hone their craft thus making it a skill.

but i understand its easy to get lost in it , when we look at images on here , cg hub , polycount , we usually only see the finished product , and even when we do watch someone paint live , we kind of forget the years they put in to able to paint/draw like that on the spot. I even get lost in the hype too from time to time.

I think most important thing you can learn from it is that everyones journey is different , so comparing can only help you to an extent
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:iconrussfairchild:
RussFairchild Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
..... Well this just about sums it up! lol
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:icon3dart-apo:
3dArt-APO Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
well said - well received.
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:iconharkins:
harkins Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Definitely true. People definitely aren't born with some magical 'talent'. Every time a really great artist shows their work when they were a kid, its never perfect anatomy, lighting etc.... it sucks. They worked hard on it. Some people start drawing and doing art earlier, so when you're doing better than people you're own age, teachers have a knack for calling you talented. Truth is, they just started drawing really young while everyone was still playing with toys.
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