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Talent" and "Skill" – a deeper understanding

Through my dealings with my techniques professor and through my
readings, I’ve come to a deeper understanding of how “Talent” and
“Skill” are misrepresented linguistically by non-artists and perhaps
even artists themselves.

Typically when people who aren’t familiar with drawing see an artist
drawing they go: “I don’t have the talent to draw.”  Of course
artists know it is largely an expression of skill that the
people are witnessing.

But when artists try to define what talent is… this can get quite
tricky.  Talent is popularly considered to be inborn.  You’re born with
the talent for art or whatever.  Genetically speaking, this probably
wouldn’t be too difficult to prove.  Some people are just born with
better eyesight, better kinesthetics, I don’t know… that sort of

Lately however, I’ve realized that talent may also be learned.  I say
this based on a definition of talent that includes one’s experiences
– which is relative to a whole host of other things… like
culture, location, language, religion, status, exposure to art, and
relationships to name a few.  These may be changed, may be learned.  A
person with an inborn talent will have the special plumbing needed to
produce exceptional art – but a person without any inborn talent for
the arts still has hope.   Because if skill to make technically
outstanding art can be learned, it then only takes drive
to express one’s experiences in art.

Therefore, those people who say that they don’t have the talent for
drawing may actually mean that they don’t have the drive to draw or
they aren’t passionate to draw — which some illustrators actually may
be guilty of as well!

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