Friday, April 30, 2010

10,000 Hours of Practice

Yesterday, I was reading Malcolm Gladwell's book: Outliers: The Story of Success. He hypothesizes that in order to really master something, like a sport or instrument, you need at least 10,000 hours of practice (about 10 years of practicing many hours a day).

In the book Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, Geoff Colvin also writes that the hours of practice one puts in is the most important factor determining whether you will succeed. Finally, in this New York Times Article the author says that it takes 10,000 hours of meditation at least to become an adept meditation master.

All these ideas have really resonated with me. I am determined to become a better artist and crafter of stories. In order to reach that goal, I want engage in more concentrated, serious practice intended to make me a better artist/storyteller.

So what kind of practice would be good? Obviously, drawing from life. Drawing people outside, drawing animals at the zoo, drawing at the museum, going to live figure drawing sessions. I want to practice drawing accurately and quickly, but I also want to practice breathing life, story into my drawings. I want to practice drawing moments, drawing characters with appeal. That's very important.

What about telling stories? There's probably plenty of ways to practice telling stories. Just do it! Try making comics or storyboards and tell a story with them. I usually write a script before trying to board or make comic panels ... but I could try just telling a story with drawings without worrying about the script. That way I can really see what my drawings are communicating. I could practice drawing facial expressions, body language from film as well as from life.

Overall the practice has to be directly related to making one better at the thing at what they want to do. And it has to require enough focus, concentration, that it's not something you can do while watching TV. Draw, draw, draw. If the previous drawing doesn't come out how you envisioned, try it again. Just because you didn't get it the first time doesn't mean you can't get it. Rework. Practice.

Ok, that's my rant on practice. Back to work!

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