I've never believed in the word or idea of Talent. Then I saw artists like James Jean and many more that seemed to produce so much, in such diverse high quality, at such a young age. I was starting to think these people had something in them that gave them that extra hit of amazingness. I've always taken as an assumption that these people (and most artists) work hard as a given. I thought for a second that it might have been education, or travel etc. While I'm sure are big, important aspects, I wasn't convinced.
However, while listening to an interview with James Jean, he said something which just took me by surprise. He did hardly any art at all before he started his college. Four years later, he was the cover artist for Fables and producing some amazing stuff that you would think must have taken at least twice that long to develop and mature.
So my conclusion, is that it all comes down to decisions, right down to the level of thought. You can't afford to play the game of being the victim, because that's a choice too. This means that it is possible to achieve a lot in a small period of time if you are conscious of your decisions and why you are making them, in order to take control of your learning. These people didn't have talent, and it had nothing to do with their process, age, or whether they used 300 gsm paper or 220 gsm paper. They made better decisions, and were able to combat mental roadblocks that held them back from success like crippling hesitation, or even the fear of failure.
Instead of going "Shit, I really suck." I need to just examine the decisions I've made and have a look at what's preventing me from making better choices and from learning more. I think that's how JJ managed to evolve so highly in just four years: Drawing smarter, not harder.
I'm not trying to pontificate but just condense some conclusions I've reached, which may be obvious to you all. It'll probably take a long time before I can fully put it into practice like I want to, because I feel technically, creatively mentally I'm still pretty far behind where I want to be, but i think it's a good step towards a more authentic and stronger body of work.
Here's a drawing that I might add colours in Photoshop or pastel, but I wasn't too happy with it, I mainly just needed to make an attempt to get my idea onto paper.
A sketch for the next version, took maybe 2 hours. I'll try and develop the ideas in the first one but hopefully do a better job.