The art journey from beginner to professional is something that you take alone. You may join a community, a class, or even go to a university to learn, but ultimately, you improve based on how much time and effort you invest in your own craft. No one can do it for you.
Whether you make it through that art journey, all the way to the finish line is, another matter entirely. Reminding yourself why you started art in the first place can be a great motivator. Reminding yourself of the joy you found in the process can be an even better one.
Blue Period is a manga about a young student discovering art for the first time and developing a passion for becoming an artist. It was only just adapted as an anime and I’m eagerly waiting for episode three to air as you read this.
Blue Period reminds you what it was like to first discover art. Creating something, the bravery to express what you’re passionate about, the recognition you feel when someone connects with your work and praises it; these are the stepping stones for a budding artist. If you call yourself an artist and have passionately thrown yourself at the craft, you have certainly felt these emotions.
Falling in love with art is easy. Pursuing it is hard. Blue Period is worth reading and watching because it reminds you of the love you first felt for art and that even though the journey is hard, it’s rewarding.
The main character of Blue Period, Yatora, is left stunned when his eyes land on an oil painting created by his senpai, Mori. From that moment on, Yatora believes her to be the epitome of skill and prowess as an artist.She becomes the target for his goal posts of how skilled he wants to become.Only to find out that there are others beyond even her skill.
When you’re just starting as an artist, everything is new.You begin to discover artists you never knew existed. Anyone who’s remotely skilled at drawing or painting in the styles you enjoy becomes a measure of how far you have to go. The thing is, those artists that you compare to and think are at the top of their game – they’re still comparing, just further down the line.
Everyone is going to compare. Just don’t let it stop you from learning. Know that whoever you’re comparing yourself to is out there comparing their work to someone else. We’re all just trying to grow as artists.The fact that we can continue to inspire and motivate each other should be considered a blessing.
One of the biggest surprises of this anime was the acknowledgement of skill over talent. In the same scene I described above, when Yatora is stunned by Mori’s painting, he praises her talent. She acknowledges the compliment, while correcting him on the nature of it. Praising her talent over her skill makes it sounds like she didn’t put in any effort and was just able to paint all along.
Make no mistake, you must learn to become an artist. There may be some people out there who have a natural head-start but it takes effort to develop real skill.
When I first learned proportion, my teacher once told me that every so often, a student is naturally predisposed to understand proportion – meaning they have an innate sense of how large or small things should look in relation to others. It only took my first assignment to know I wasn’t one of the lucky students. I realized in the end it made no difference.It was one small piece to the millions of nuances you need to learn to draw and paint with incredible skill.
No matter what natural talents you start with, you can’t become an artist without developing your skills.
Developing your skills takes effort! Continuous and consistent effort is the only way to become an artist. Yatora did 30 still life’s, even though his teacher suggested a fraction of that amount. The more effort you put in, the faster you’re going to see results.
Be careful not to confuse effort with time. Putting in your practice while watching a TV show is not going to be as effective as drawing to soothing background music. You can’t put in 10,000 hours of time and hope that transforms you into an artist.
You need to break down what you’re seeing, analyze it, and solve problems with creative solutions. This requires effort. Sure, time is involved, but effort makes the difference between time well spent or time wasted.
I didn’t notice it in the anime, or maybe it was translated incorrectly, but there was one difference between the first episode of the anime and the first chapter of the manga that struck me as important.
“I wish I started sooner.” is what Yaturo says in chapter one of the Blue Period manga. I imagine you can resonate with this.
I started drawing when I was 21 – nearly about to graduate from college. It was scary and I thought I was crazy for wanting to change my major near the finish line. After dipping my toe into the online communities for progressing in art, I saw so many younger people who were miles ahead of me. I desperately wished that I had started sooner. I wanted to be as good as them. I was comparing myself right from the start. Now I know (being a lot closer to that finish line for my art journey) that they were still comparing themselves to something they believed was bigger and better.
There is no right time to start. You don’t need to feel like you wish you started sooner. You can learn quickly if you put in more effort.There’s still time. Watch the Blue Period anime, read the manga as you wait for the second season, and fall in love with creating art. That’s when you’ll push yourself to even greater heights.