Jun 10, 2019
By Thomas Matthew Pierson
Any skill worth learning involves practice and a lot of it. I remembered once hearing the phrase it takes ten thousand hours to master a skill and there is some truth to it. It may not take ten thousand hours but if you spent that amount of time drawing or painting you are almost guaranteed to be a master. If not, maybe it requires another thousand. Who knows, you just need to spend a lot of time practicing.
When I teach, I emphasize the realities on how to become better at drawing and I will often say something along the lines of “ To become awesome at drawing it takes eight hours a day, Seven days a week, for six months; that is what it takes to see drastic improvement in your drawing”. It is usually met with disbelief, or a realization that I am telling a kernel of truth. I say that because it’s not far from reality. There is a disconnect in todays instant satisfaction media world. People want to see change happen quickly, fast, with little struggle and difficulty. Unfortunately, anything worth learning takes time.
When you boil it all down, drawing is work, it is labor. At first learning how to draw can be exciting. Especially if you see dramatic improvement. Sooner or later though, you will plateau, and it will take some grit to push through the stagnation. Since drawing is essentially skilled labor, often doing it for prolonged periods of time makes it feel more like a job. Try to separate the feeling of it be laborious; if you think of it as work, then you will be less likely to practice.
The reality of the matter is you got to become better at managing your time, allocating a time of the day you can draw free of distractions. Not all of us have eight free hours every day to draw non-stop, me included. It takes sacrificing your social life, your sleep, and your free time. There is no free lunch when it comes to becoming a better artist. I recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear. It offers a unique way of thinking about establishing habits. If you can set up good habits, you can set up systems for good time management.
Remember practice with intent, practice often, never give up, and keep that pencil moving.