Tips on how to become a skillful artist

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A group of animation students recently asked me to shed some light on what it takes to become a skillful artist. I’m a professional 3D artist but I think this applies to most creative disciplines.

The answer is simple and most people know it, it’s just time and hard work. It was easy for me to become fairly proficient as a 3D generalist because I was totally obsessed and in love with the technology of CG animation. It was great fun! My point is, we all know it takes time and hard work to become particularly skillful at a craft, but this process is only sustainable if you actually love the work! I’ve observed students who are aware of this, but won’t acknowledge it and put in the hours to get good in their craft. Instead, these students look for shortcuts that don’t exist. That being said, here’s a tip I think will help you to get skillful faster because it worked for me.

We can all cut down the learning time by constantly asking for feedback on our work. If we receive feedback, especially from an experienced person, we should try to understand what he means and work on the feedback. In comparison, if we just work on our own without any feedback to guide us, we will improve much much slower. This will allow us to learn smart, on top of working hard. Get out of your comfort zone and show your work to everybody else for feedback!

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