Saturday, June 19, 2010


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.


  1. Thank you so much for this post. It is exactly what I needed right now.

    Best of luck with your new painting <3

  2. Hi Rodrigo.
    I think you have an interesting train of thought here. I do not believe in talent per say when it comes to art.
    For me, I think the ability to learn effectively is what separates the most successful artists from the ranks of also runs.
    If you approach things with the right attitude, apply true critique to what you are doing and make solid, grounded decisions then things progress well.
    I am also think you obviously need the right amount of education to help your efforts bear fruit. It is easy to tread water for long periods if you are not aware of the factors that are mal-effecting your work. A great deal of success in art is gained through really applying what you learn as you go rather than reading it and then not practicing it.
    Enjoying your blog a lot mate. Great stuff.

  3. Thanks guys!

    Dona so glad it helped.

    Devin haha!

    Jake Thanks for your input! We are totally on the same wavelength. Thankfully with the internet a lot of people including myself who don't have access to the best education now can find an abundance of great resources.
    I would also like to add that applying what you learn can often be a slow delayed process- it's funny and frustrating how there's understanding it, and then there's *Reaaally* understanding it... haha! :P

  4. Ha ha that is so true. I read stuff and think. Yep, read that now, taken it on board... Then i pick it up a month later and it is like reading it for the first time. My poor stupid brain!

    I have spent the last few years trying to make up for the education i never received. The internet was a hell of a wake up call for me about a year after graduation.

    The thing I love most about art is that you can study and improve for ever.

  5. Great post, and inspiring at that! There are tons of books on this matter and Greg Manchess did a presentation about this at IMC this year. Keep up the exploring!

  6. Just came across your work, and this post really hits home for me. I've been struggling with both the ideas of talent and art education, and to what degree they are necessary for artistic development, but as you say it really comes down to your own motivations and taking the right steps to advance yourself. I'm sure you'll be able to make that happen!