Hey guys, it’s Dan. I’m back with another Art Life post.
Today, I want to discuss the artistic mindset and the reason that art doesn’t get made.
A lot of you artists reading this probably already know. Most kids have a thing for drawing, and autistic children have a natural talent that stems from their hyperfocus on detail. They take into account things like perspective and composition.
So what’s the deal with the adult population, where most adults are artistically challenged? It’s interesting to note that this is more prevalent in the west, where much emphasis is made on math and science. Weirdly enough, many western countries score quite low on math and science. I don’t really know what this is, perhaps a general cultural aversion to intellectual pursuits?
In countries where art education is extensive, such as Japan, many “Average” students (meaning not especially talented at art) are able to draw pretty well. I don’t mean that they turn out professional pieces of work, but what they draw looks like what they intend to draw.
Whereas most Americans struggle to draw a straight line or a stick figure. Not to knock the humble stick figure either, it has become a staple in comics for article. Their ease of recognition and convenience to produce make them good fits to illustrate and support the main points in your article.
Alright so what’s the deal with these two points: that Japanese students are able to draw better than American students, and that most adults are not good at drawing?
Probably that children are told that they can do whatever they want, and they develop a sense of free play. They are praised for drawing no matter how terrible it is, and therefore are encouraged to repeat this activity.
As you grow up, adults impose expectations on you and your time, they tell you what kind of activities you should do, and what topics are considered “worthwhile.”
In a lot of cultures, art is a luxury subject, and most students are shunted towards the sciences or trades. Many articles abound on the internet about the consequences of picking the wrong major, and not being able to make ends meet, etc.
The trick is to be very good at whatever you choose to do, whether it is art or construction. Being skilled at your vocation will bring you more than enough work to support yourself. It is a lie that artists are poor, maybe artists who create subpar work or don’t know how to market themselves are poor. But many illustrators who are both skilled and connected have well-paying, meaningful jobs.
If you are at a point in your life where you are struggling to find meaning, going to work everyday to a job you don’t really like, try taking a risk. Practice your art everyday and build up a network of supporters and investors.
If it’s your dream, sacrifice all you can, practice when your friends are at the pub, practice when you should be sleeping, and keep going even when you want to quit. Keep doing a little bit consistently each day, and soon, you’ll be able to do whatever you want.

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