Art is a skill, not just a talent. This is a topic I’ve been passionate about for years, and the idea that art is solely about talent drives me up the wall.

In schools parents use the art as talent justification to argue their kids deserve higher grades if they “try” at the course, even if they have no skill. (I’d love to see someone posit that argument for a math class).

Adults I know use it to justify their lack of skill and their discomfort talking about and practicing art. A regular argument I hear is when art is equated with sports and people’s performance in sports (people can practice but that doesn’t mean they will be an Olympic athlete). (Funny, I still feel like I could argue that for math or any other subject).

Hey there! 👋 I’m Carrie. Here on Artist Strong I help self-taught artists who have a home studio, feeling stuck with their art, move from wondering what’s next to confidently expressing themselves through unique, original art. To date, thousands have joined the community.

👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽 If you feel like gaps in your learning hold you back from making your best art, sign up and watch my workshop, called How to Create Art from Your Imagination. It’s completely free for you to watch and the link is in the description below.

Today let’s discuss this myth about talent that holds people back and creates unnecessary barriers. Let’s unpack this misconception and look at why it persists and how we can challenge it.

The Skill Behind Art

First, let’s talk about skill. Drawing, painting, sculpting—these are skills that can be learned and developed, just like playing a musical instrument or learning a sport. If you’ve ever taken an art class, you know that it’s not all about inspiration and creativity. It’s about understanding techniques, practicing regularly, and refining your craft over time. 

Consider my experience with students from South Korea. Many came to the school I taught at in Dubai with an impressive ability to draw photorealistically. This isn’t because of some innate talent; it’s because they are taught drawing skills from a young age. The key here is education, not some mystical gift. If you invest the time and effort, you will see progress. It’s as simple as that.

Betty Edwards’ book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” (This is an affiliate link that supports Artist Strong at no additional cost to you – thank you for valuing this space) offers a compelling demonstration of this idea. It shows before-and-after drawings from adults who practiced the techniques she teaches, proving that art can be a learned skill. So, if you’re feeling stuck in your studio, wondering if you’ve reached the limits of your ability, remember that skill is something you can build. The key is consistency, perseverance, and a willingness to learn.

The Talent Argument

Talent is a tricky concept. While it’s true that some people may have a predisposition toward certain skills, talent alone won’t take you far if you don’t put in the work. Talent can give you a head start, but it’s your mindset, dedication, and practice that will determine how far you go.

Think about athletes. Some are naturally gifted, but even the most talented athletes train relentlessly to reach the top of their game. In art there’s no specific build or genetic makeup required to be good at drawing or painting. It’s about learning the techniques, experimenting with different styles, and finding your unique voice.

Art is about creativity, and creativity is a skill that can be developed. It’s not just about mastering techniques but also about exploring new ideas, taking risks, and giving yourself permission to create without judgment. When you embrace this mindset, real growth happens.

👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽I’d love to know, what beliefs have you been taught or do you still hold around art and talent? Let’s begin to unpack and understand them in the comments below.

Finding Your Unique Style

If you’re feeling stuck in your studio, ready to move beyond “paint-like-me” classes and YouTube tutorials, it’s time to focus on finding your unique style. This is where art becomes more than just a skill—it’s about expressing your individuality and creating something that reflects your perspective.

Right now I’m working with a student who has a real love of wildlife. Hi Rick! If you’re watching 🙂  He is determined to bring a level of vitality and movement to his work. Rick has spent years studying and learning the art of wood carving, and wants to incorporate drawn work into his portfolio.

Just this week he told me,

I am learning so much from the live check-ins and the course, that it is really amazing to me. It is having a huge impact on my woodcarving and my colored pencil art.  I am also doing something I would never have imagined–doodling landscapes and seascapes.

Thank you so much for Self-Taught to Self-Confident! I am looking forward to being an active member of this group for a long time!!!!!”

Working on his skill development is not only helping him see things about his art he never noticed before, it’s giving him the confidence to explore different themes and topics in his work.

This is how we find or discover our unique style. While I sincerely believe it’s a voice simmering inside of you, waiting to be shared with the world, we must explore our interests and experiment with different subjects, colors, and techniques. Through taking the time to focus on art theory and foundations, training our artist eyes to “see,” we will start to develop an awareness of our artistic choices and how they communicate the ideas pictured in our mind.

If you’re at a similar crossroads, my advice is to embrace the process. Don’t worry about being the best of the best. Focus on being the best version of yourself as an artist. Allow yourself to take risks and explore new ideas. Your unique voice is what will set you apart from others, and that’s where the magic happens.

Today’s video is brought to you by my premium program Self-Taught to Self-Confident. If you are tired of spinning tires spending money on classes that teach you how to paint like someone else and are ready to make art that reflects your unique voice and style, this program is for you. 

Self-Taught to Self-Confident walks you through building strong foundations to draw and paint whatever you want so you can confidently build a practice to show up regularly for your art and begin to explore what you want to say. You will create a series of artworks that reflect your unique style that you can share (and maybe even sell).  Hop on a call with me to see if you’re a good fit and walk away with a clear plan for your art today.

What’s Next?

As you take your art more seriously, consider what steps you can take to grow. This might mean experimenting with new materials, taking advanced classes, or finding a mentor who can guide you. It could also mean setting up a dedicated studio space, so you have the freedom to create without interruption.

If you’re thinking about exhibiting or selling your art, don’t wait until you feel “good enough.” Start putting your work out there, even if it’s just on social media or local art events. The more you share your art, the more feedback you’ll get, and the more you’ll grow.

👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽What’s ONE thing you can start applying to your artist practice this week? I’m all about taking action here and helping you get results so I want to hear how today’s conversation can help you make better art. Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

Ultimately, art is a journey, and there’s no right or wrong way to approach it. Skill and talent both play a role, but the most important thing is your passion and commitment. Keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Your art is unique, and the world is waiting to see what you create.

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proudly call yourself an artist.

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