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Is drawing natural talent or skill learned by practice – The Myth of talent in art


Let Bust The Talent Myth When It Comes To Drawing

It’s very common for people to associate the ability to draw with talent. That’s not an issue if they meant that some people draw better. But they make it look like as if certain people can ever draw which is not the case.

Because of this way of thinking, there are many artists who feel they can’t become good at it, while other people who think they will never be able to draw at all. Which is sad to be honest. The effort many good artists made to become good is very often neglected, and the focus is often on talent alone.

I wrote about this subject before in the early days of this blog, in the A Sweet Word About Talent and how much talent is overrated post, and now I know better about this. I thought it would be good to revisit the subject again with a more detailed point of view.

Even if talent existed in some form or another, it’s being taken for more than its worth. It is used more as an excuse by some people to belittle themselves rather than to work hard to draw at the level they really want.

The Overused Word

People mention talent a lot when they refer to someone who can draw (and in the case of other abilities). While it’s very understandable that some people use the word “talent” to refer to having the ability to draw. It’s the negative way the word is used is what I am against here.

For many people, talent is used as an excuse that they can’t draw or perform well in the activity they chose for themselves. I see a lot of people who don’t consider themselves capable of drawing refer to people with skill as “talented”, as if it was something magical only certain people ever have. The word is used too much that it’s more than an excuse they never became good at drawing.

If There’s Talent, Then It’s That We Start At Different Levels

This is one of the easiest facts to acknowledge about people. There is a real difference in the ability of different people. These skills range from observation skills to memorization (and some may have learned other skills prior to drawing that helps them there). Some of these skills can make some people more capable of becoming good at drawing faster than others. And it’s one chance how some people can create a great artwork in few hours when you spend hours & hours to create something interior.

That being said, this doesn’t really mean you can’t become very good if you really want to. You can reach very high levels if you had the persistence & patient to get there, as long as you followed a good path. Humans are creatures that can learn & adapt, and so, you could adapt & learn what you need to draw the things you want.

People Told Me That Many Times

People tell me I am talented at times, not realizing that I actually worked hard to draw the way I do now. I am fully aware I am a normal human being with just persistence, nothing more. People do that with other good artists. They don’t realize how much hard these talented people worked to there in many cases, and unless we asked them about their success stories, we would never know, we just see the fruit of their efforts. I said that when I talked about comparing yourself to other artists in this post.

As I always say, I still have a long way to go, and I plan to work harder to get where I want. My art profiles and this site can be used as a reference to how much I improved with time.

Why Am I Writing This?

It’s because I have faith in the ability of people to achieve what they want if they put the hours to do so, along with a good plan for that. Unfortunately, I sometimes see people doubt themselves very negatively because of talent.

Last year, I received a message from a fellow artist, who called himself “The Worse Artist In The World”. I can’t post a copy of the message here, but he essentially told me that he tried everything he could to become good, from tips to art trades, only for him to not get better, that you need the luck to be born smart in order to be good at drawing.

There’s always the chance the guy was trolling, but I will take him seriously for the sake of benefit. I don’t know the full steps he took in order to improve (these make great difference), but I took a look at his gallery, and his art wasn’t that bad, he had cartoony style, similar to Megaman, and he was definitely not the worst artist ever as he said. He was probably becoming better without even realizing it, since he probably never compared his old & new art, but rather compared himself to other artists & just that (I am only assuming here).

He certainly could have improved a lot by simply practicing drawing basic shapes like circles.

Studying anatomy, stylization & some shading could have pushed his art to really good level. Giving his simplest art style, it wouldn’t take him long to become good in my personal opinion.

Seeing this attitude in people makes me a bit sad, and I feel glad I have this small window of this blog to encourage people that they are better than they think they are.

Drawing Is Tricky, It Needs To Be Done From The Right Side Of The Brain

I think one of the reasons people tie the ability to draw with talent is that they can’t fully apprehend it. After all, drawing is a tricky subject to many people, and it involves multiple aspects, none of them are exactly hard, but requires approaching them in a certain way to be understood.

A lot of what I am saying here is explained in the book Drawing from the right side of brain, a book that changed the way I think about drawing, as well as confirmed many of my thoughts about it. In short, it explains how many people tend to use the left side of the brain to draw, not the right one, which is more capable of observing images. It also explains how the drawing skills of many people develop from childhood, only for them to give up on drawing at an early age when they try to draw realism without understanding it. I totally recommend you read the book if you have doubt about drawing & talent. It can change the way you think about drawing.

Kindly read my Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Review here.

You can find drawing from the right side of the brain from the following Amazon links:-


The Real Talented People

If there’s one thing I see in the so-called talented people, it’s the drive to become better. One of the online forums I visit have a thread showing how many artists used to draw in the past & how they became better after they worked hard on it. These people had the drive & patience to become as good as they want to.

To speak about myself, while I am glad with the progress I made so far, I personally don’t think I had enough drive to get where I want to be, just enough to become relatively good. For that reason, I plan to work on that so I reach the level where I want to be. You could call this drive passion, which is the case with many artists.

I totally acknowledge that some people are more creative as others. But believe me, even that can be acquired, it’s all about how you nurture your brain & develop some habits that allow you to do so, habits those creative people discovered one their own, but you can acquire them consciously if you really want. Many of these habits are discussed in the books Idea Hunters, which is another book I appreciate, even though it’s not centered around drawing.

You can find the Idea Hunters in the following Amazon links:-


Comparing Yourself To Other Artists Could Make You Feel Inferior

If you attend an art course or school, you mingle with many fellow artists, and then you can’t help comparing yourself to those fellow artists. The same goes if you are a member of an online art community, where there are all sorts of good artists. This is an issue closely related to talent. I talked about it in this issue in my article about comparing yourself to other artists here, along with how to make comparing yourself to others the right way.

Drawing Is Something Many Of Us Wanted To Do

Many people want to be good at drawing, despite how good they are at other fields. It’s something many of us failed to do, and for that reason, we decided to set aside in early childhood.

The good news are, while it may take years to reach certain high levels of art, getting good results can be done in a matter of weeks (or days if you’re really good). In the book Drawing From The Right Side Of The Brain, the author mentioned how some of her students were able to draw well just by setting the left side of the brain aside.

Even if you don’t really want to reach high levels & draw realistically. Drawing is good for our creativity & ability to solve problems. It’s a fun thing to do on the side, and so many people should be able to do it & reap the benefits & fun of it.

Hard Work & Persistence Can Get You Everywhere

To encourage you to become a great artist, I would like to tell you that persistence can make you a great artist if you really want. There’s no better thing to say about persistence other than Calvin Coolidge’s words:-

Calvin_Coolidge _bw_head_and_shoulders_photo_portrait_seated_1919

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” –  Calvin Coolidge – The 30th president of the United States of America.

When it comes drawing, there’s only one caveat to persistence & hard work:- mindless hard work won’t get you far away. It’s going through all aspect of creating the art you want, getting feedbacks from others, self-critique & taking note to the areas where you lack & challenge yourself to do better at these areas. Simply repeating & drawing the same thing the same way may greatly limit your growth as an artist.

To give you an example about myself (again), I am not very good at drawing hands, and despite the fact I became much better at them lately, I am still not that good at them. But I plan on focusing on that in the next few days, and I am thinking about posting some pictures of that as I do it.

People Make The Same Mistake About Talent With Money

As I said about the ability to draw, and to do art in general, are so tied to talent in our society. People do the same thing with money, they tie having a lot of money with intelligence. Even though rich people became that way for many other reasons. (Being smart can make you rich in certain cases, but it’s not the most prominent way to get there in my opinion). Such ties need to be broken & put in their place, in order to understand success well.

And Finally:- Is drawing natural talent or skill learned by practice?

I may have been a bit harsh in this post, but I don’t like it when people don’t use their latent abilities, when they think they can’t draw at all, when it fact they just need to take the first right step toward becoming good artists.

To a degree, I have the feeling that the media makes people think about the talent the way they do. For that reason, I may write about that in the future.

I hope this post has helped you the talent myth when it comes to drawing. That it encouraged you to draw better, whether you draw for the fun of it, or if you plan to become a great artist someday.

Bear in mind that some people may require some coaching in order to improve themselves, while others can discover what you do next with some efforts. So don’t hesitate about asking others for help when you

I hope I answered your question whether is drawing natural talent or skill. See you in another article~

Sources & Useful Links

Drawing on the right side of the brain

See also:-

I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.


  1. I’m sorry but i 100% disagree with you. Drawing is PURE TALENT.
    I have been trying to draw for over 10 years i just can’t.
    No results AT ALL. Courses, Magazines, art classes and NOTHING.
    Everybody at the art classes were doing great, what about me? No at all.
    I know your heart is in the right place but you are being dishonest and unfair.
    Because i wasted 10 years of my life trying to learn something that took me nowhere.
    If people like you were honest we wouldn’t spend so much time trying to learn something we don’t have talent.
    That’s no good for people like me who have NO TALENT AT ALL.

    1. Hello Markus,

      While I certainly disagree with you, I totally respect your opinion.

      You said you were practicing for 10 years, with the focus on the “10 years” part, you have used yourself as an evidence that drawing requires talent to be good at, but I don’t think that’s a good way to go about things. I still don’t know how you went about practicing your drawing, what have you done to try to become better, and if there’s something you lack and you should have focused on, and whether you even know the fundamentals or not (which can be very important). I also don’t know if I am the first person you discuss this topic with. Someone with the experience could have guided you very well. All you’re telling me is “I practiced for 10 years, and I still can’t draw”.

      People learn different things at different speeds, I am sure if I went to your classes, I will be amazed by how some people could learn drawing much faster than me.

      I sincerely don’t think I am lying to people. If someone came with a strong argument against what I said in my post, I am more than willing to change what I think, or to at least update what I know. But so far, I still stand by my opinion.

      I am really sorry to hear about your experience, and I really wish you the best in pursuing all your goals.

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