What do you want to be when you grow up? At 23, I finally have an answer. I want to be an artist.
It took me a while to decide. In university I mixed culture and biology. Yes, it was interesting. I dissected a rat and then went to a lecture on Asian art. As a teenager, my dream was opening a pet store. My childhood dream was becoming a caveman. Weird how I went from dreaming of lush, curly hair all over me to plucking of my eyebrows.
I have always been scared of art. I couldn’t paint like Rubens. Drawing was nothing but frustration. No talent, no future.
You need to be born with a gift for art.
That’s what I believed.
But a new idea sprang. You could learn. I understood that Rubens didn’t come out of the womb with a pencil in his hand. He practiced. All the great artists practiced. They got better till they became masters. What does this mean? That there is hope.
Current artists show that you can go from an average doodler to a professional painter. Do you want examples? There’s Algenpfleger (before & after), MindCandyMan (before & after) and Marek Okon (before & after) .
I had to start somewhere.
A lot of art books are step-by-steps or aimed at artists with experience, but luckily some people recommended me books to get started. Books like “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” (Amazon link) assume that you have zero experience and teach you drawing methods instead of only showing you steps.
I started drawing just one hour a day.
I saw my art improving every day! This was my progress in one week:
I passed the first stage. I went from being an “absolute beginner” to being just a beginner. There is much more to learn… (wait for it, I’ll show you my level of car drawing in just a second). I want to be a good artist. That will take time and effort. That will take an awful lot of drawing practice!
My plan is to create a portfolio and go to art school. This means self-studying art for half a year. Isn’t it contradictory to first study art and then go to art school? There are two reasons for this. First of all, I will know whether I have the drive to buckle down and study art. Doodling is fun. Measuring perspective and analyzing anatomy… well, that’s not as fun as doodling.
The better my portfolio, the higher my chance of getting into a good art school. I have a lot of stuff to learn.
For example, drawing cars. Don’t laugh, but this is my attempt at drawing cars:
See? I am nowhere yet. The good side of sucking really bad is that there will be improvement. Even if I don’t get on Rubens’ level, hard work will get me beyond where I am now.
It takes some courage to acknowledge failure. I have a Tumblr to showcase my “happy accidents”. Those paintings made me go “Ooh, maybe I do stand a chance”, but I was hiding the bad work. Even worse, there were weeks of not painting at all.
“Don’t be upset with the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.”
I have to draw every day. I don’t want to be a caveman, I want to be an artist. A pretty good one.