I was checking Muddy Colors and I saw the amazing entry by Gregory Manchess about his work for the Lord of Chaos cover.

I won’t spend a word to describe how incredible the illustration is, because it’s quite evident to anyone. I’d rather post a very interesting comment Manchess wrote regarding “talent”.
I very much agree with him and he put it so well that I can’t help but to quote him entirely:

“Just ask me what I think about talent sometime, D. You’d get an earful. It does come from experience and focused practice…all of your life. It is not some kind of gift, and it is not some kind of magical gene responding to stimuli, or some DNA coding.

Whatever little ‘talent’ spark we believe is inherent in certain children is basically drained of energy by the time we reach adolescence. Whatever happens to continue that ‘gift’ is entirely up to that person. This is based on some very hard evidence which is coming into the light of day (thankfully) by study after study by neurologists.

There is no guarantee that the talented child will continue to innovate creatively into adulthood. In fact, most children stall out and put their ‘gifts’ to rest.

There is much to be said for the determined mind that is attracted to skill and training. I continue my training every dang day. Every time my pencil hits the paper, or my brush hits the canvas.

There is a ton of research out there on this very stuff. We all want to believe in the magic. I do not. And neither does a whole slew of scientists working on this. Magic comes from practicing so much you are just. that. good.

I may write a post on this subject sometime soon. A LOT of artists are counting on the idea that they are gifted, touched, enlightened. When in fact they are just trained, and would rather have you believe they are something so very special. There’s a lot of ego involved.

Don’t fall for it.”

Gregory Manchess

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