When we decide to pursue art as either a hobby or a career the word “talent” is something that pops up. It seems to be a common platitude in fact. No matter how many hours, or how many responsibilities are sidelined for creative endeavors, the concept of talent always seems to take precedence over hard work in common vernacular.
The main question when making natural talent so important is determining how much of a creators abilities are God-given and how much is a result of simply putting in the hours it takes to get good. What of people who are “talented” at things but want to do something else with their lives? What about people who may not be perfect at something but if they are diligent enough get SUUUPER good…but quit because someone says they aren’t talented?
Our art was terrible when we were kids but people told us we were talented. God bless those people and it was great that we thought our art was fine at the time but it was far from master level. We were just obsessed about getting better and kept going even when we make work that will never see the light of day. We have each spent 20-30 hours on certain pieces…I would consider that in the realm of hard work. We are drawn to art and always have been so does it make all of our work the result of simply inborn predisposition? Maybe we should just concentrate on doing what we do instead of figuring out all this.
This is a topic that we will touch one in future posts and videos. Please share and leave your input regarding talent vs work ethic!
Tyra finishes the graphite drawing of the maiden in Chastity. She focusing on shading the clothing this time. We’re trying out voice over so she can accuratly describe what she’s doing without needing to concentrate on drawing.
What about it? Our art is story driven. Sometimes we do themes instead but there is a narrative. We come up with backstories, either made up or existing lore.
why? A painting is more interesting when characters have something to do. Draw verbs. Environments are more immersive when there’s story behind it. Gives life. Know where to go with designs. Gives reason for things in a painting to be there. Connect with character when they aren’t just standing there. Gives more meaning to painting beyond pretty picture.
audience engagement; What are your favorite stories in art?
We live in an age where it seems like everyone feels entitled to opinions. Add in the fact that good art is everywhere so when it comes to figure out what style to do or what exact career path to follow it gets confusing. When we started trying to figure out what we wanted to do stylistically we had to figure out the following:
What do we want our art to look like?
There are a thousand ways to make a drawing or painting and so much subject matter to tackle. There is a limited amount of time to be alive and get good at things. You can’t do everything without getting overwhelmed. Yes, one artist may do great watercolor portraits, another artist may do beautiful Celtic folkart but that doesn’t mean I have to do those things. That person has reasons for doing what they enjoy, I need to discover my own tastes and preferences. You can appreciate something without having it yourself or simply take bits from each influence.
Why we are making art?
Am I making it as a hobby? Is it being made for a book or other publication? Is it being sold in galleries or being shown in exhibitions? Is it a physical embodiment of some emotion? Is it a vehicle for expressing a group of characters acting out a story of some sort? If it’s a part of a genre, which one and why? Who do I want to see this art and how do I best visually communicate to them? Figuring out the end game is useful for figuring out a path.
What was it about doing it that we even liked?
Answering this helped us discover the mediums we use. There are certain disciplines that we don’t do because we didn’t enjoy the process of creating it. Answering this helps lessen the dissonance between wanting to make something cool but not feeling like getting to the end point. What we do takes insane amounts of time so we need to enjoy the ride. It also doesn’t help if other people love the art but the artists looses a piece of his/her soul making it.
Artists and creators: Let us know! Are you doing the work you really want to be doing? If so how did you get there and if not, what are your obstacles stand in your way?
We just created a new segment on our YouTube channel called Warmup Wednesdays! These will be faster smaller doodles or sketches, mostly not related to any of the more involved pieces we may be working on at the time. Take a look and subscribe for more content!
Last week we wrote about why it’s good to be an art hermit and look at less art. This week is an argument for the opposite. Why it’s good to look at other artists’ work. Self reflection in solitude is helpful but if you want a career it’s not just about you. Even if you’re a hobbyist, if you share your work with others they won’t respond well if they don’t relate to it.
If you want a career of art it’s important to know what’s going on in the market. Family and friends will give compliments because they care, so it’s important be objective about what skill is required. Looking at other art in your niche allows you to compare skills to other artists and get an idea of what’s required. Magazines, galleries, and social media groups are all good places to start . Art directors and other potential clients frequent these as well, so they give an idea of the quality to aim for. Art doesn’t have to be made to appeal to masses but while creating it’s helpful to be aware of these things.
On a personal level, looking at art helps interact with other artists and their audience. You won’t discover beautiful new things if you don’t look for them. Socializing with creatives online and in person leads to interesting conversations about any facet of art. You learn new things by listening or may help someone else. When seeking out artwork, you can find new places to showcase your work too.
And the most obvious reason looking at other peoples’ art is helpful is that it’s inspiring. If I don’t feel like drawing a quick look at paintings and concept art makes me want to draw. Seeing awe-inspiring art gives me a higher level to aspire to. It’s impressive to see what’s possible. None of us has all the answers. After study and research it’s good to see how others solve artistic problems. When looking for inspiration, variety of art consumption is beneficial. A variety of influences breathes new life into your art. Constantly looking at new ideas avoids stagnating from the same habits. You discover whole new mediums and genres. Without that variety there is a risk of getting entrenched in the same habits. Seeing new types of art breaks the comfort zone of only seeing things you make every day. You can find things that appeal to you that you never would have imagined. Sometimes you don’t even know you like something until you see it. Doing art for yourself is rewarding, but there’s a whole world to be seen.
We don’t just enjoy drawing and painting, we also like looking at work by other arts. No matter how many hours we create, it’s still inspiring to witness a created piece. We know how it’s done and it still feels like alchemy to turn a 2 dimensional surface into what looks like a tangible thing. So obviously we love consuming art. But sometimes it’s healthy to take a break from looking at other peoples’ art.
Sometimes artists compare our art to others’ to an unhealthy degree. It’s good critique ourselves, because our work has to stand out in the crowd. Critique brings about improvement. But everyone has the potential to add unique content to the world. We may have positive attributes in our work. But sometimes we appreciate the art of others so much we think ours is disappointing by comparison. In our constant appreciation of colleagues we fail to appreciate our own positives. Just because you like someone else style, or subject matter, or technique doesn’t mean yours has be the exact same.
Consuming artwork makes you aware of trends and what other people like. This is useful, because if you want to have a career in art, it has to appeal to people besides yourself. But when viewing art, we have to remember just because something is a trend and works for others doesn’t mean we are all beholden to that. Creating beautiful, funny, or engaging art isn’t about ticking off all the checkboxes to making the perfect painting. It comes from an individual’s skills, thoughts, experiences, interests, etc. There is no recipe to making the perfect thing everyone likes. New things are born from all the aspects of the art-making process. We have found our most satisfying work doesn’t come from making the appealing things we think an audience will accept. Nor does our technical improvement come from going down the list of fundamentals without second thought. On a subjective level, ideas can come from experiences, interests, internal places. Technically, art is such a vast discipline, it’s daunting to know where to start. We study most effectively when we concentrate on fundamental skills as they become relevant. Looking at other peoples’ art can give an idea of where to start, but know one knows your mind better than you. You know what you want out of your art, so it’s up to you to learn what you need.
So examining our art independent of others enables honesty. Do I really like the type of work I do? What do I like so much that I have to be the one to make it? What do I have to say through my art? What styles, subjects, aesthetics appeal to me? Not my family, social media, art teachers, magazines. Me. Whatever the answers are, proceeding to create it in a closed environment makes it more comfortable without fear of consequences. It allows you to recalibrate your art, so it’s about why you loved art in the first place. Recapturing the naïveté of drawing purely for personal work. So the art has been distilled to the essence of Taisa or Tyra.
Consuming art while brainstorming leads to absorbing other artist’s ideas, styles, subjects, etc, subconsciously. This isn’t necessarily bad, since there is no such thing as a 100% original idea. It can be a problem, though, if we shut down our own work just because we saw something else. Or we run to other artists’ solutions before we give ourselves a chance to try. The artistic equivalent of asking the teacher for the answers because you’re scared of getting it wrong. Even if I’m not being an Art Hermit for the day, I don’t like looking at art while I’m doing preliminary sketches because I want to exhaust my ideas before I look to others. I don’t want to eliminate an idea just because someone else or no one else did it.
The variant of going to outside art for all the answers is that we fall so in love with an artist or style that we copy only that directly. Especially if you have a small amount of influences. As I said, nothing is completely original. We all have things we see in others we are inspired by and want to copy. But we should understand or selves and why it appeals to us, so we can incorporate it in a meaningful way. We see art we like, but we aren’t that artist. That artist has their own life, experiences, education, influences, etc. Copying another artist directly on every single aspect will leave your work looking derivative. We all have more than one influences, we don’t have to do the same work as a few favorites. Evaluate and bring various sources into art, not just the one favorite artist.
All of this does not mean we hate the idea of taking inspiration. But if you have lost sight of what your doing with your artistic life, it’s good to take a day or a few to remember what you are doing. You’re the one that is making your art. If you aren’t content with it, you have to be the one to figure out why. No one else can tell you what you like. At Jaunty Cat, we sometimes evaluate our art, technically and subjectively and ask if this is what we want. How should we make our art. Do you sometime need a break from art consumption? What did you learn about your art while you became an art hermit?