You know, I get a lot of people asking me "How are you so good at drawing?" And I also get a lot of people telling me "God, I’m just going to give up. I’ll never be as good as you." And I think real hard about those things every time I read and hear them. I have a lot of thoughts about this subject, because it means a lot to me.
Some folks seem to think that being able to draw or paint or write or create in general is something that you are inherently born with. It’s something that you’ve just been gifted at the point of your conception, and you’re destined to follow that gift wherever it takes you, and that’s what you’re meant to do. That’s what you’re meant to pursue in life, because that’s what you were given.
And you know what? I think that’s true. I think we’re all born with a gift. We’re all born with skill. Each and every one of us has talent inside of us. Each and every one of us has the capability and the potential to do something amazing; to do something incredible that inspires others. To produce new things. We all have that capability. There are no exceptions to this.
However, you need more than just talent in order to tap into what you’re capable of doing. Take this for example: You see the most beautiful car you’ve ever seen in your life. Every single thing about it makes your eyes go wide, makes your jaw hang slack. But here’s the kicker - it doesn’t go. It has no engine. Like a car needs an engine to run, a person needs passion to tap into their talent and really make something of it. You need to be passionate about what you want to do or pursue.
If you truly want to develop your talent, if you want to reach deep inside yourself and scoop out that little ember in your heart and stoke it until it becomes a flame, you need passion. You need to be driven. When you find something you want to do, you need to fall in love with it. You need to love that thing more than anything else in your life. You need to want to fight for that thing. You have to be willing to suffer for that thing, both at your own hands and the hands of others. You have to understand that in order to become better at something, you need to first be terrible at something. And you have to accept that you will be terrible, that people will put you down, that people will make fun of you and try to stop you from doing what you want, but you need to push that aside. You need to learn to ignore the negativity and fight on for what you love because it’s what you really want.
I wasn’t born an artist. I wasn’t born with a pencil and sketchpad in my hand. When I first started drawing, I drew stick figures. My proportions were all wrong. My sense of colour usage was nonexistant. My understanding of space and poses and anything else you could possibly think of that has anything to do with drawing, I was awful at it. And everyone is. Mucha was. Beethoven was. Einstein was. But they had something that pushed them forward, that made them keep on going despite all of the odds that were stacked against them. They fell in love with their crafts, and so did I. I fell in love with art and drawing and producing. I fell in love with being able to pour my soul onto a page, regardless of whether or not it was actually something someone wanted to look at.
I don’t do it for anyone except for myself. I do it to make myself happy. When I produce something I really love, I don’t care if the entire world hates or loves it, I love it, because I wanted to do it and I did it. I pressed on and did it despite what other people might think. Despite the fact that I probably won’t get recognition for it. When I produce something, I don’t do it with the idea that I want it to be seen and praised. I do it because I want to make myself proud, and if people end up liking it as well, then that’s fine. I think that’s the key to success. To be true to yourself, and to your passion.
You can’t let your challenges scare you. You have to look them in the face and tackle them as many times as you have to in order to wrestle them down. If your goals are small, that’s fine. If your goals are huge and towering and intimidating, that’s fine too. So long as you have that passion in your heart, your talent is going to blossom and you’re going to find some measure of success in whatever you do. You will improve, your skill will develop, and you’ll find pride in that.
You have to be careful never to find complete satisfaction in what you do, though. You can never say ‘Yes, this is enough. This is where I stop.’ You cannot limit yourself if you want to pursue what you love. You have to be critical of yourself, but also fair. Every success you have is another step towards greatness, but you have to constantly look for ways to improve. You have to understand that in everything you do, you can be better and you /can/ move forward.
If you want to do something great, just don’t give up. That’s a pretty cliched thing to say, but it’s true as hell. You have to fight to become what you want to be.
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