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Well, I'm back for another editorial. But this isn't for fanart anymore; this is for ALL artists, especially those just entering the feild.

As any artist would, I like to show off my work to those around me. Everyone enjoys it all the same, but some look at it with a tinge of envy or remorse. Then they utter one of the most insulting statements to me:

I could never do something this good.

I could easily tell you that I was no good when I started drawing as a 12-year-old. I specialized in tracings and small comics, Garfeild rip-offs replaced with very non-Mario-like Mario Brothers. My anatomy was all wrong, my lines weren't straight (I'm STILL working on that), and the coloring was rushed and sloppy.

Then I started collecting some how-to-draw books, manga, and online artwork, gathering inspiration and reference from every available outlet. I paid close attention to what other artists emphasized; detail, composition, color choice, everything. I tried something new in every picture, new poses and characters and purposes in every work. Over time, these other artists helped me create my own style, the style you see me illustrate today. I can't name all the artists who inspired me to get off my feet: there are simply too many.

So you see? It took me seven years to get to where I am today. Seven years! A time period filled with nothing but practice and experimentation.

It's a simple concept: you practice, you get better. But there's more to it than that. You have to have the perserverance to TRY. You have to have the courage to try drawing something you've never drawn before. You have to be willing to challange yourself. Nobody said art was easy.

In a college course, History of Contemporary Art, we read a scholary journal titled "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" by Linda Nochlin. A standard answer to this question was that women are incapable of greatness, compared to men. However, as we now see, this is not so; the reason why woman did not often become artists in olden days was that they had no access to art studios or teachers. They were never encouraged to become painters, and thus were never taught.

After this discovery, the class came to this conclusion, one of the many I have carried outside ever since: Art is learned, not innate.

There's no other excuse you can provide for not being able to produce art. If you're self-driven and are willing to do the work, no matter how long it takes, you WILL get better. And I'm not just blowing hot air here. I've watched peers in my Beginning Drawing class (another college course, mind you) who have never drawn before grow beside me in one semester as we draw spheres, boxes, and drapery. Not once did any of us say "I can't do this" or "I give up." We just sat right down on our stiff benches and got to work, for better or worse. And from flops, we only grew and tried again. And I say "we" because I was a part of that growth too.

This is what I've been saying for years. You don't need "talent" to succeed in what you want to do. Granted, it's nice to have some talent, making the journey a little less agonizing, but it is definitely NOT necessary. Forgive me for sounding blunt, but the need for talent is a loser's excuse. A loser who doesn't have the guts to TRY.

Art is a lesson we learn over the course of our entire lives. We just have to be willing to listen and try and learn and grow.

With that in mind, I'm going go dish out a few tips. This may not help you, but it sure as heck helped me, and I hope you gather inspiration if nothing else.

Start out slow and build yourself up.
You don't want to start out with a mind-boggling project on your first try, only to give up. Start out with more simple things: faces, animals, objects, whatever the hell you're comfortable with. You can build up from there when you feel your comfortable to, and move on to full-body portraits or backgrounds or whatever.

Don't be afraid. Just draw!
Anyone can look at a blank piece of paper and be intimidated. But art should be fun, not scary. Be brave! Leap into the drawing, your mighty pencil drawn and ready to face any challenge! The less you worry about the final outcome, the more likely you are to be satified with it in the end. But, of course, don't be reckless and ink and color until you know you're ready. The more you draw, the more you'll know when it's the right time.

Build a steady collection of others' artwork
Inspiration is all around you and at your disposal. Collect anything artistic: how-to-draw books, comics, manga, cartoon/video game screenshots, concept art... even online artists. I have several folders filled to brim with nothing but the artwork of others. From these you can gain inspiration or helpful reference for certain details or poses you have trouble with. They're extremely helpful and easy to refer back to if you organize them right!

Try something new in every picture
You'll never grow if you draw the same thing over and over. Try characters, poses, backgrounds, or styles you've never drawn before and learn from these experimentations. Don't be hesitant in trying something new!

Expose yourself to healthy critcism
Don't be insulted when someone tells you to improve something or try something different; they're only trying to help, not hurt your feelings! Constructive critcism can be really helpful if you take it into serious consideration. As for people who flat-out say you suck, well, they're just not worth listening to. Don't let them get under your skin; surround yourself with more encouraging people.

NEVER GIVE UP!!!
This is the big one. Everyone says it, and it's the honest-to-god truth. I've seen too many people who don't even try. It's so very sad. If you keep at it and practice frequently, you will eventually get there. Keep going. Believe in yourself. HANDLE IT!

Good luck to you! To any new artists, you are free to ask me for any helful critcism on any piece you present me with. I support anyone, and I mean ANYONE, who's willing to enter the exciting, terrifying, wonderful world of art.
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:iconpaper-rust:
paper-rust Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hello. I know this is a really old journal all things considered, but I found it on a Google search and I really need some advice.

Here's the thing--I'm at that point in my life where I need to know what the heck I'm gonna get my butt to college for. The parents say I have no talent for art, and I can't help believing them. I just really enjoy it, though... And a career in it fits my personality. I don't think I'm that great right now. But could going to university for art improve one's technical skills enough that they could get employment? I would like to go into movie or game-related fields. I do draw some on the side and have always been in art throughout my school years, but I don't know if I show enough promise...

If you have time, I'd REALLY appreciate if you could just glance at these two improvement/ 'draw this again' meme I did and give me your thoughts. I'd be so thankful for your opinions and advice.

[link]
[link]

I know it's kinda weird to ask a complete stranger something like this, but I'm to the point where I'm desperate and genuinely needing to pick a career direction. OTL
Thank you for your time.
Reply
:iconchollachambers:
ChollaChambers Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2012
My horse is an artist . For real ! He was not taught to paint. It is an innate ability that he has. I did not train him to paint. He watched me paint fences for years, and was very curious. He has always loved to hold things in his teeth. I thumb tacked a piece of paper to the fence and held out a true artist brush for him. He took it in his teeth and started painting. He went to the easel without hesitation. He has been painting 8 years now, and is quite accomplished. Please be happy for him. Horses are very intelligent. They are pure essence, as is art !! www.ArtistIsaHorse.com Cholla Chambers is on YouTube and FaceBook . Peace & Happiness !!!!!!!!!!!!
Reply
:iconalicesacco:
AliceSacco Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2010   Digital Artist
Unluckily, i realized today i have changed idea about what you said. i've praticed for more than two years and effort didn't payed off
Reply
:iconnintendo-nut1:
Nintendo-Nut1 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Well, I've learned that there's a difference between just drawing over and over and actually learning while you draw. You make a drawing, you look at it, realize the problem areas, and work to improve them. You have to incorporate the learning process into it too, or else you keep drawing the same thing over and over and you never learn anything.
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:iconalicesacco:
AliceSacco Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2010   Digital Artist
I don't draw the same thing over and over again. i spend most of time to copy and anyway i draw with a reference image. I can't draw without something in front of my eyes.
I know what are problems in my drawing, but i can't correct them. I still need to copy.
Reply
:iconnintendo-nut1:
Nintendo-Nut1 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Well, the best thing to do right now is to look into some life drawing courses. I'm sure they're offered somewhere in your area. You gotta learn to draw from observation first.
Reply
:iconalicesacco:
AliceSacco Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2010   Digital Artist
Once i would protest (i copied over and over again and i didn't improved at my art) but now i agree.
I'm 100% talentless. I draw from when i was 4 because i liked it and because i thoug drawing=communication, but at the age of 12 i drew like a 8 years old child. I did an art school, but i started to understand how to draw just in last months, after many and many pratice. And i need to improve again a lot of things, especially details, mainly because i'm big-picture oriented.

And it's true when you say in every pictures everybody need to try something new. I see too many artist that apparently seems good but they aren't able to get out from the comfort zone. It's OK at the start, but after some time is better to try to change.

About creativity, i think is a thing that it's innate in every human being (and in animals too), so everybody has it.
Reply
:iconthebakasquadlycan:
TheBakaSquadLycan Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2010  Student Digital Artist
This is a great help for beginning artists.
I was planning to uploads some of my crap, but my scanner will only upload it as a collection of dots.
Do you know something that can help me?
Reply
:iconnintendo-nut1:
Nintendo-Nut1 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Hmmm... try messing around with your scanner settings; it might be on black and white or something.
Reply
:icondigmeagarden:
DigMeAGarden Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010
This is all to true. all through high school (not so much in college thank god) people would say that "i could never". Its partly why Im becoming an art teacher. because I believe that anyone can draw. they just need to try. if you take a corner of American Gothic and say to anyone "can you draw this for a million dollars" they will say hell yeah! thats just one part of a whole. I agree completely with you on that.

As for women not being recognized for their art, I read this quote recently that has stuck with me "People have never loved an adventurous woman as they have loved adventurous men". I believe it completely.
Reply
:iconeitho:
eitho Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
lol~ same here anyway and I still want to do my best to bring my drawing skill to another level and as said, I do store my old crappy drawings with me anyway XD and I love to revise myself back then till now. Sometimes it made me love and sometimes I just could only say 'wow'. It's been 12 years ever since the first time I draw anyway :)
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:iconsiddeeqaxel:
SiddeeqAxel Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2009  Student Artisan Crafter
this really touched me..i started drawing at 17 and still working hard..i see lil improvements everyday...this article really inspires me and makes feel really happy =)
Reply
:iconfeethebunny:
feethebunny Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, some very great advice. Thank you so much for this post. I think I might go off and doodle a bit now.
Reply
:iconkeybladeadept5:
KeybladeAdept5 Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2009
Wow, heroic anime-video game music is looping in my head. Thanks for the inspiration!
Reply
:iconmechaguy:
mechaguy Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
very true
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:icongalacticpink:
galacticpink Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Can I offer one more suggestion?

Save your old crap! XD Seriously, nothing feels better than looking at art from several years ago and suddenly feeling the urge to burn it all for its crapiness compared to what you can draw now. I was looking at some old art of mine and it almost literally hurt. That stuff was terrible.

My stuff could be better, but looking at my old stuff shows me how much worse it could be. I've found tablet art is far more comfortable for me than drawing on paper. Pixel art isn't as good as tablet but is better than on paper.

But I have trouble drawing "for practice". That's one thing my fanfictions have helped me with. Wanting to draw my characters has made me practice more! Now if I could only make myself sit down and draw fan art for the sake of fan art. XD

But the whole point is never throw your "crap" away. Just so you can look back on it and see how much your "crap" has improved. :dance:
Reply
:iconnintendo-nut1:
Nintendo-Nut1 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Ha! I never thought of that! Excellent suggestion!
*looks at her old crap* AAAAGGHHHH EWWWWW. XDDDD
This is the time I wish you could modify articles. XD
Thanks!!
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:icongalacticpink:
galacticpink Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome! X3

*seizures with you over old crap*
Reply
:iconkurosaki55:
Kurosaki55 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2009
awsome story, i felt like i could never do anything worth a crap, but now i see it is possable, thank you for the inspiration
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:iconbecauseimfrench:
BecauseImFrench Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Well I have been wasting time...
I'll make sure one day I get better than my sister. Awesome words; Very inspiring!
-Thumbs Up-
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:iconsielte:
Sielte Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2008  Student General Artist
I wish I'd known this when I was younger. I might not have wasted so much time crying over it.

:hmm:
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:iconheartless789:
heartless789 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2008
Though it is learned some people can pick it up by themselves. But you are right it isnt innate, but some people can pick it up from what they see. Sadly there are not many of these people. So we need to learn to become better that is how everything works.
Reply
:iconcheetahforeverrunnin:
CheetahForeverRunnin Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2008
I am very thankful :iconishbane: sent this to me. I started drawing in Preschool and am 12 now, so I've been drawing for about 8 years. And I am still trying to do better. Thank you very much for this.
Reply
:iconvypor:
Vypor Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2008
I'LL GIVE THAT A BIG AMEN!!!!!!
This inspires me to try even harder! :D
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:iconlanx1:
LanX1 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2008
Yeah i kinda wanna draw now >.> XD
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:iconlupvirga:
lupvirga Featured By Owner May 30, 2008
i do believe that there are those that can draw and those that can't draw. how ever i do believe most that can't must find something that perks their intrist. in artstyles i mean. it only took me 4 years to get to were i am at now (i don't draw much but i am good) and all that was through self taught. no books no class. HELL no teacher. there are those who can achive victory naturaly and those that must be taught. those that can achive it naturaly is how we say"has the god given gift"
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:iconlupvirga:
lupvirga Featured By Owner May 30, 2008
ps i don't find art books helpful. they start with a squar or another shape then BOOM it is a person. no i find that if you look at your own body shape and hands (i did hands well cause i use my hand for reference) its just as difficult. now exuse me as i return to my pie
Reply
:iconnintendo-nut1:
Nintendo-Nut1 Featured By Owner May 30, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Oh, no, I don't use the STEPS in the art books. I use the poses/costumes/character designs for reference and inspiration.
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:iconloverxxx:
Loverxxx Featured By Owner May 16, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Just in the right moment. I was like really depressed, cuz my art sux, but gave me hopes of improving my skills. Thanx a lot!
Reply
:iconvolent19:
Volent19 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2008
This is not necessarily true. I started art as a child when i was still very flexible, and I found that i was very skilled in terms of art. I'm still not the best, ALOT of ppl are better than me. But, through practice, I plan to become one of the world's most dedicated artists. Children will read about me in txtbooks. But it will happen. I guarantee it. By the way, if you would criticize me because none of my art is posted, it's because unlike most people who can go to their parents house or have their own printers, and scanners, I have to support myself. And that is the difference between me and MOST people. I know I have to Become an artist because I cannot hold myself to a lower standard. It's just that simple. If I come off as cold and heartless, forgive me. But it's just my nature. I am actually a very friendly person...until you stand in the way of me and my mission. Enough said.....by the way, your article was very helpful to me and only makes me want to become even better. Thanks for the information.
Reply
:iconnintendo-nut1:
Nintendo-Nut1 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Well, it's no prob. XD Yeah, I'll come off as blunt and mean too, but that's just because I'm not afraid to tell people my opinion, I'm rather friendly too.
Well good luck ^^
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:iconvolent19:
Volent19 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2008
Yeah. thx...^^
Reply
:iconhunterlurker:
hunterlurker Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2008
Simply marvelous!
These words were a lightouse in the darkness of my despair!
.....ooookay maybe that's too much but anyway these words are pure kindness to all the people out there who started drawing. Personally, I really want to draw like Daniel Renard aka San Renard(yup, im aiming high!:giggle:) but im a noob at drawing, need more time and motivation and this editorial just hit the spot when it comes to give an artist some hope!
So, keep up the good work!
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:icontheweirdandwonderful:
TheWeirdandWonderful Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2008
I'm mostly the third one from the bottom, I need to work on my poses a LOT, though to help me with that I bought a large mannikin figure to work with. I don't do backgrounds as much as I should either... Lately I also need to work on trying different styles, though I'm trying to develop of a few of my own to use for different purposes. I'm thirteen years old and plan to take art as my life plan, sometimes I'm afraid that I'll never be good enough, but everyday I try to get at least one picture/sketch done. Athough just in my own opinion I'd say Art can be taught, but can also be a gift where people are naturally good at it, of course even a gift needs working at. =) I like this, it gave me a boost of confidence.
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:iconmadhostile:
MadHostile Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2008
Thanks for the inspiration back to the drawing board
Reply
:iconsiathlinux:
SiathLinux Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Artistic Talent is innate - the ability required to make it look good are learned...

I have been drawing since I can remember, and I am good at some types of art and really bad at others, I am 'technical' in my drawings, as for example I could draw a great suit of armor, but would struggle to draw the face and hands of the warrior wearing it.

I have all but stopped doing 'artisian arts' with pen and paper or oils and canvass, and have turned to 3d art, which I am getting better at, being technically minded I can create all sorts of objects and places and scenes... just don't seem to be able to model a person or a plant for my life...

Just my thoughts on your awesome article ;)
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:iconkaytara:
Kaytara Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great article. I'm one of those 'drawing-since-I-could-hold-a-pencil' people. Doodles, sketches and drawings have always just seemed to flow from my pencil without any conscious effort, so thankfully, I've never had to feel intimidated by a blank piece of paper, so maybe I'm not the best person to say this. But practice can make ANYONE better. My opinion of talent is that some people are just more predisposed to become artists - therefore, since they possess a natural inclination to draw, they tend to do it from an early age, and the huge amount of constant practice eventually makes them skilled, which makes a lot of people think you need talent to BE skilled. But that's nonsense. 'Talent' is just what usually pushes you onto the journey in the first place, there isn't a single reason why anyone not 'talented' but determined to become an artist can't push themselves.
And even when I say 'talent', I mean certain qualities, like an 'artistic eye', sense of colours, and a certain amount of patience. But yeah, you can bet even a little child ';predisposed' to become an artist doesn't have senses fine-tuned enough to come up with the perfect composition and the perfect colour scheme. Developing those things is part of the journey, which basically means... Well yeah, it means ANYONE can become talented.
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:icondramathrills:
DramaThrills Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
This is a good article for the most part, but with photography(my strong point in art) you have to have an eye, and a good amount patience to get good pictures. You do have to learn photography to get better at it, but no one, can teach anyone to see what's out there, or how to be patient.
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:iconleeannekortus:
LeeAnneKortus Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
I am very glad to see this article posted. I think it is a wonderful thing to encourage others to grow, and not give up. I was an Art teacher for 13 years. I agree that Art, Drawing, etc. can be taught...good design, can be taught. Anyone, if they can write their name, can draw. The drawing is not in the act itself...it is in the seeing. If any of you are trying to improve your skills, go to the library and read Betty Edward's book 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain'.
Although anyone can be taught to draw, to design beautiful things....some people are from a young age aware of how to do it. They, by the way they process visual information can do it easily. Hence the term 'Talent'. But if you want it bad enough...you can do it.
As to that piece of regrettable paper and binding that called itself a book claiming their were no great Women artists, I say the author needs to research her claims a bit more....what of Mary Cassatt? Georgia O'Keefe? Frida Kahlo? These you will certainly find in museums. You can find even more, here: [link]
or here: [link] Visit the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Perhaps they are not as widely known, but they are no less great!
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:icontazsaints:
tazsaints Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wholeheartedly agree with you here. I've been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon, but I never really began to improve until I jumped on DA and looked at all the wonderful art on here. I realised I had a long way to go, and I'm still going on that path, but it's been a fun ride so far.
What's surprised me most, is that while I have people I look up to, and art I wish to be able to equal someday, I recently realised that I've become that person for others now too. It just shows what dedication and creativety can accomplish. :)
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:iconirenelangholm:
IreneLangholm Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Art can be learned technically, but passion and creativity can not.

As a famous man once said "The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.” :) (Oscar Wilde)
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:iconhelaine:
Helaine Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008
Great article! :D

Art is not just talent, it's passion and practice :D

When I look at my gallery, it's like a time line!

I really like it when people commented on my deviation that I'm improving, especially if they compared it to my first deviation.


After a long time of drawing, I just realized it, though everybody (even my teacher) said that I should practice, but I was a lazy-ass xD

Great article, it's really motivating :D

+fav this! :D
Reply
:icondarknight-alchemist:
Darknight-Alchemist Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008
I completely agree.

But when it comes to actual -creativity-, I think it's a matter of you've either got it, or you haven't.
Reply
:iconnightcat06:
Nightcat06 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2008  Student Filmographer
It does take time to learn. Long time D: But I'm proud of what I have learned by myself. I drew Hamtaro and wolves Balto styled. Always created my own characters and stories, but it was somebody elses style. I could'nt draw humans 2 years ago. Right now I'm trying to find my own style.. It's hard.
Reply
:iconfelixfalora:
FelixFalora Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2008
Sounds like the same thing you said in your journal entry. This is the truth. I'm an example. Too afraid to show off my drawings, always believing they suck... Now I've got some pics up on my gallery and I'm happy to say that I haven't stopped... The reason that I haven't tried anything new is because my school library's closed and the idiots won't open back up. I can't get my How To Draw Books back anymore :(
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:iconanimati0n:
animati0n Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2008
I agree with PARTS of this. Yes, art can be learned. But I know a few people who couldn't draw to save their lives. And that's because of their hands and arms. Sure, they can write, but for whatever reason, they can't draw. :o
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:iconthewindwraith:
TheWindWraith Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2008
Absolutely awesome post! I've been in art classes for the first time ever, for the past 3 months - and I LOVE EVERY MOMENT of it! I never had the courage to even try a portfolio to enter Art school until my (very wise) husband pushed me to try. I wanted to, absolutely - but the courage to take that one step was lacking because I had no confidence in my imagination/art. Since being there I've tried so many things and as you said - some worked, some didn't. But I loved every moment, all the feedback and this includes some laughable "flops" too. I learned, I grew and I am so much the more confident, happier and better for it. I can't wait to see what this term brings.
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:iconnintendo-nut1:
Nintendo-Nut1 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Ooh! Which art school are you going to? I'm at Woodbury University of Burbank. ^^
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:iconthewindwraith:
TheWindWraith Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2008
I'm at NSCAD in Canada (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design - googling NSCAD and Canada brings it up first hit though) and I LOVE it!!! ^^
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:iconkuratasana:
KurataSana Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2008
I totally agree with you. <3 I try and tell my fiance this all the time. Anyone can draw, if they just try hard enough and want it enough. :giggle: It just takes practice and patience. =D
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