Learning: The Painful Part of Art

Do you remember when you learned how to drive a car for the first time? How about the first time you tried to ride a bike, swing a baseball bat, or solve a math problem?

Chances are, these things come somewhat naturally to you now that you don’t even think about the time when you didn’t know how in the world to accomplish that particular task.

However, when you stop and consider the process of learning to ride a bike for the first time, you might remember how you stumbled and fell and scuffed your knee time and time again. You had to master balancing on just two wheels while also steering, and throttling your speed so you don’t go too fast and run into a tree. Yes, personal experience. (I think I still have that bump on my head.)

All of these things you would have practiced and practiced until you were finally able to not only ride your bike but also eat a popsicle or talk on a walkie-talkie with your pals while you rode. You no longer had to focus on exactly how to ride a bike, but because riding became second nature, you were able to multi-task, and try newer and cooler things. Eventually, you could ride full speed with no hands and pull wheelies to impress your friends and freak your Mom out.

Art is very similar to this process.


Let me explain. Too often, we as artists want the glory without the pain. We want to be Pixar without the tedious process of learning. Many people are born with natural talent and artistic abilities, but even the greatest artists have to experience growing pains in learning. They wrestle with the tools of their craft to discover how to use them in the best way to accomplish their vision.


When it comes to Blender or any software you are trying to learn, don’t try to skip straight to doing the bike tricks. Doing this will cause you to fall flat on your face and perhaps give up entirely.

Take the time to learn. Learn the tools of your trade and don’t get discouraged when you fail or make mistakes. Remember, learning anything is painful, but it is necessary pain if you want to truly succeed. Eventually, the software you are using to make that animation, VFX shot, or 3D environment, will become second nature and you will be able to focus your attention not on the tools, but on perfecting the masterpiece you have envisioned.

Then, who knows, you may just impress your friends and freak your Mom out.


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