I showed my artwork to a friend the other day, and she was blown away, and ooh-ed and wow-ed as she looked through the paintings and drawings. She snapped a couple of photos of some of them and texted them to a mutual friend of ours. It was pretty obvious that she was impressed by the work.
The next day I was musing over the fact that how people get so amazed by my drawings, when for me it’s a pretty easy thing to do. I guess that’s where my article is going. What is talent? And how is it different from skill?
What I think is that talent is something you are born with. You either have it or you don’t. Skill on the other hand is something you cultivate, something you learn over months, years or even decades. Sure, if you have a talent for drawing, you will be able to pick up the skill of using a paintbrush much faster, vs someone who couldn’t even draw a stick figure properly. With lots of training they may get good, but for them it’s a skill, not a talent.
It’s also something that doesn’t ever go away. It’s not something you have to practice to stay good at it, like tennis for example. If you asked me when was the last time I drew a portrait, I’d have to say at least 7-8 years ago, but if I sat down today and picked up some charcoal it’d be just as easy for me to draw another one as it was 7-8 years ago. That doesn’t mean I didn’t ever practice drawing, or that I never ever took art classes, it just means that unlike someone who picks that up as a skill, I don’t need to do it every day to do it well.
That’s what I think is my advantage as a graphic designer, as well. I have an innate talent that makes this easy for me. I can see shapes, lines, colors and the overall picture much easier, because it’s part of my talent. My brain works well with these things and makes connections really fast and really well. When something is wrong, I have a gut feeling and I just know it’s not going to work. And he same way I can see how it will, which is what being a talented graphic designer means to me.
The drawing above is one of my older drawings, inspired by an ad from a fashion magazine (I think it was his eyes, his intense gaze that grabbed me and made me draw him, ;-), and not to brag, but I think it turned out pretty darn great.
Made with charcoal on paper, this is one of my favorite portraits.
You can see more of my work here: Anna’s Portfolio
Anna Kernbaum is the founder/owner and chief creative of Pixellent Design. You can contact Anna directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (310) 896-5071