Potential Talent: The Art of Building Momentum

I really like to write messages of encouragement to anyone out there that is listening because I get a lot of emails asking how to get better at art when the skill level just isn’t there. Which makes me chuckle! Because I am still working towards improving myself and I look up to artists a million times more skillful than me like Fabien MenseLoish, andPete Mohrbacher, wondering when I’m going to get to that skill level. When am I going to get to that point in art where the ideas in my head translate more easily onto canvas or paper or digital medium with less struggle with anatomy and lighting and more focus on technique?

Sometimes I do get frustrated with how difficult it is for me to draw hands (We have all been there! haha) and I think to myself ‘Kyana, you draw hands all the damn time. You should have this by now!’ and I tell you…that kind of things gets me down.

But you know what? I have draw hands over and over again and when I acknowledge that, while it may not be a breeze for me now, gone are the days when I used to cover them up by hiding all my characters’ hand behind their backs. I’ve got a basic understanding of hand anatomy down from painstaking and frustrating practice and, thankfully, I am growing more comfortable drawing those pesky palms and fingers because I pushed through the frustration each time I drew a character. I looked up tutorials in between illustrations, took pictures of my own hands, studied references…

I say this all the time, but practice and study can only move you forward into understanding the parts of your craft that you want to get better at.

This week I was listening to a vlog by Will Terry titled “10 Reasons You Will NOT Starve as an Artist!” and a point that he brought up stuck with me instantly: Reason 3 – “You don’t judge your value as an artist by your current work

And that got me thinking – potential talent is a real thing. Now, I am certainly not saying you should sit on your butt or draw the same subjects every day without stretching your horizons and understanding of technique and say “Well! I have potential! So it should catch up with me eventually!”

No! Potential is defined as ‘capable of being or becoming’. There is a possibility – anopportunity – for anyone to become an accomplished artist, but you can only build on your potential by improving on your last creation, studying what did and didn’t work, comparing notes with other artists, defining what you like and don’t like and just continuing to work. In the long run success comes to those that put in practice.

I would also like to mention that just because you don’t like your work today you are not “worth-less” as an artist. What can you do today? What can you do the next time you make the time to draw? What don’t you like about your art today that you want to improve on and be great at someday?

Think about failures as valuable lessons. So maybe drawing dynamic poses is hard for you and someone pointed out the stiff, unchanging poses of your characters. Try drawing them running. Look up photographic references of dancers or sports players. Watch an action movie! And draw while you do it. Strive to understand how the body moves and then bring that knowledge into the next character you draw. No “failure” should end where it is. Use current shortcomings as a bookmark – or a point to improve upon or get past.

I like to look at regular drawing practice as building momentum. The art of building momentum in practice means to do it regularly until you are just on a roll. Even if you stop for a few days, you can still build momentum. Unless someone is holding a gun to your hand telling you not to draw, there is no one stopping you from doing what you can.This does not have to be a contest between anyone but you and yesterday’s work.

Do your best!

Practice with a goal in mind!

Remember that you are full of potential. Your art journey does not have to stop here.

And finally, as always, thanks for reading!