Today, instead of a video, I want to talk about a very important thing which should be common sense for a lot of people, but I didn’t realize how important it was until lately. What I am going to discuss about today is the importance of practice. Over the last couple weeks, I took a lot of time to look through my old sketchbooks from freshman year, and all I could think was, “Wow, these look terrible.” Of course they are terrible from my point of view, but they’ve also made me realize how much I’ve improved, and how years of practice got me to the way I draw today. I feel like people often think that when they see some amazing artwork, the first thing they think is how talented the artist is. However, often people overlook the thousands of hours spent to perfect themselves to the level that they are currently at. This does not apply to art, but to other areas as well, such as an athlete that makes something look effortless. To make it seem that way, they have spent a lot of time practicing.
Here are a few recent experiences that illustrate my point. A few months ago, I found the picture (above) of a character I drew in the 8th grade, and I decided it would be fun to redo it and see what I could do. I was quite surprised when I compared the two – how improved the new one looks. A couple days ago, I was cleaning my closet when I found these old sketchbooks from who knows how long ago. In each one of them I could see my improvement over time, and came to appreciate how all my practice and repetition ended up leading to better and better results. I realized that four years ago, I would never have expected to be able to improve this much. It just goes to show how much the practice has paid off. My friend told me a couple years ago that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to reach a level of mastery in a particular field. She practices way more than I do, and her work is jaw droppingly good. Lately, I’ve been looking back at what she said, and I have to admit, I could not agree more.
Words, pictures old and new by Darren Huang.