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  1. #51
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artistsneverdie View Post
    What makes you say ability is knowledge?

    If hypothetically speaking you and I did a sport/ event/ hobby/ design/ coding whatever... and we both had exactly the same fundemental knowledge of the activity, one of us would be naturally better at it, due to an inherant disposition towards a physical/ mental characteristic (no matter what it is) that enables us to be better at that activity than the other, no matter how small the advantage.

    Knowledge has a cap as to the advantage it can give you within a certain ability, you could know everything about football but be crap at it because you're 23 stone and can't walk more than 2 yards.

    Ability is the capacity to apply to your actions the knowledge necessary to achieve the intended results.

    Knowledge is acquired through observation, thinking, and learning.

    Knowledge is neither inborn nor automatic. To acquire it you must choose to focus your mind and to use your thinking capacity. And it is mandatory that you separate abilities that are the result of one's particular physical structure from abilities that result from the acquired contents of one's mind. For instance, in football, the blocker needs the genetically inherited mass of his body and separately the acquired courage and perseverance in his mind. The quarterback needs the genetically inherited agility of his body and in addition, the acquired skills of strategic planning and quick thinking on his feet.

    This is the case with all things we do, from learning to walk to expressing what we think with any artistic medium. While there can be a physical component, the intellectual contribution is the most important factor. Furthermore, physical deficiencies can be circumnavigated and overcome by ingenuity, therapeutic training and tools. The intellectual contribution can only be achieved by thinking, the product of which is knowledge.

    Following is a summary of the kinds of knowledge required to engage in a creative profession. The process for acquiring and applying this knowledge is a fundamental attribute of all human beings -- the means by which we survive and thrive as what we are. There is no basis to assume that such a capacity would at some arbitrary point suddenly cease to function. And likewise for our ability to apply our knowledge to our actions. Mere assertions that such limitations exist are without value. Define those points at which they would cease and verify them.


    I. Knowledge gained before actual creation:

    ..1) Knowledge of the physical means (tools):
    • a) Knowledge of medium and its potential.
    • b) Knowledge of the actions required to implement the medium.
    • c) Knowledge of how to integrate a with b, which is acquired through practice (trial and error).

    ..2) Knowledge about the intended result (definition of the goal):
    • a) Knowledge about client (context of the assignment).
    • b) Knowledge of your own values.
    • c) Knowledge about function/purpose.


    II. Knowledge gained during and after creation:

    ..1) Knowledge from the actual experience:
    • a) Knowledge from experiencing the limitations imposed by the constrains of time and money and devising the means to overcome them.
    • b) Knowledge from experiencing the limitations imposed by the clients rationality, psychology and ethics and devising the means to tolerate and/or manage them.
    • c) Knowledge from experiencing the comparison of your intended and expected result to the actual result (knowledge of lessons learned).

    ..2) Knowledge gained from evaluating the result in respect to yourself:
    • a) Knowledge from identifying and evaluating the cost of your effort -- money plus the time for learning, thinking, practicing and production.
    • b) Knowledge from identifying and evaluating the gain from the final realization -- the gain of happiness for being able, being loyal to your principles, being productive, being paid, and being self sufficient.


    The degree to which b exceeds a is the measure of the pride you have earned for yourself. And pride in your work and yourself is what will fuel your continuing investment of effort to acquire and apply new abilities over and over throughout your life.

    -----

    To say that a person born with a talent can push his ability further than any other person who is not born with this "gift" is a very destructive and limiting way of looking at the act of creating. This statement implies that a person who excels can only do so because he was born so. It is a degrading slap in the face of the people who have gone through the long process of continued and goal oriented effort to learn. It is true that there are good designers and bad designers, but the bad designers never had the doors opened to their minds in a proper way, either through self neglect or neglect by a teacher, or they were stifled in their progress, because people kept telling them that one must be born with this talent and there is no use in trying to learn anyhow. All the wishing these startups will do cannot help if they are not encouraged to learn on their own what they were not taught. Statements about inborn ability certainly do not help.

    And here we arrive at the principles of design. Those are learned, some pick them up early in life, some later. You learn these principles just like any other professional learns the principles in his field, be it physics, cooking, comedy, medicine, or kicking a ball correctly, etc. There is no cap on the level one can achieve -- one has only to invest the effort. Creating requires all of you; halfhearted attempts will only be rewarded with frustrations and giving in to the idea that one must be born to it. That in turn sets a roadblock for the mind: "I cannot go there, I cannot be as good as that artist I admire so much, I could never do this because I do not have that gift." This is the wreckage left in the wake of an unsubstantiated belief in arbitrary limitations on one's capacity to gain knowledge and apply it to creative endeavors.
    Ulrike
    TUTs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  2. #52
    SitePoint Member fellybabe's Avatar
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    i am saying a big thank you to everybody that contributed immensely to this topic, i have really learnt alot on the website u all provided on graphic design and am finding it very interesting.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    snippet
    Errr... not exactly.


    Honestly, you are, frankly, denying that prodigies exist. Prodigies exist in music, arts, maths, and even, martial arts (yes, I watched that infamous 11-year old kid who demolished a brazilian BJJ black belt - and anyone who knows martial arts knows that BJJ black belts are absolutely nothing to sneeze at.)

    Almost all parents of prodigies will tell you that their child/children simply started doing it, without any prodding, and quickly improved without being taught.

    Going by your argument, genetically, their brains were simply suited for what they excel in.

    But does that bother me? Does it bother me that a 9-year old girl can paint better than me? Heck no. And it shouldn't.

    Calling it a slap in the face is, bluntly speaking, a lot more reflective of the insecurities of the person who feels "slapped".

    Design isn't some quantitative/competitive profession wherein we have "the best in the world". It draws far too many parallels to music. Do Whitney Houston and Shakira share the same fans? Nope. But they're both successful, because their music caters to different audiences.

    I myself grew up with a "peer" who was simply far more talented than me at illustrations. We were best friends, yet, I am the one with a design firm, not him. Why? Because somewhere along the line, he simply completely lost interest (not to mention he was already terrible at managing himself), and I fell in love with branding and identity (I graduated with a degree in marketing, not art).

    Design is the same way. Classical painters and illustrators don't "compete" with modern digital graphic artists over who is "better." That would be so absurd to the point that it would be almost hysterical.

    A "great" artist is somebody who can surpass expectations while at the same time maintain their own style. That's the beauty of our field. Even if I'm not as good as say, Adam Hughes at illustrating, I know I can delivery a very stylish piece of graphic work.



    In fact, along that line of thought: Dan Brown and J.K.Rowling are both excellent writers - but who is better? Neither. Because they don't have the same style. Yet, they are both talented, and both are "great" at what they do.


    Regarding the lack of talent:

    As I've stated before: There comes a point wherein you simply have to be made aware that you are not supposed to be doing something. If somebody told me that I couldn't sing, and I shouldn't waste my time, why should that be destructive? Heck, I would see it as constructive.

    I can't sing. No amount of training is going to give me a voice. I can certainly carry a tune with enough time and effort by learning timing and the scales, but I was never born with a voice like Whitney, Mariah, or even, sadly, Justin Timberlake.

    So it destructive for me to be told the truth? No. Why should I pretend and live in my own little bubble thinking that I can sing. Not only would I be making a fool of myself, but I would also be wasting my time by being completely unproductive - who is going to pay me to sing if I can't sing? What, do I become a music teacher then, because I know timing and the scales? Ridiculous.

    This may be a bit of an exaggeration (and a bit callous), but a guy with no eyes can't see, a paraplegic can't move, and a hunchback can't model for Versace. But they have accepted that - and that's the first step to improving yourself as a person: Know who you are, what you can do, what you cannot do, what you love to do, and then move from there.
    Last edited by XLCowBoy; Jul 31, 2008 at 00:47.

  4. #54
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    XLCowBoy -- Your post did not address my position that knowledge plays the central role in ability. Are you agreeing with that but saying that it is the knowledge that is inborn? Or are you saying that something else that is inborn is the source of our abilities. And if it is something else, what is it?
    Ulrike
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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    XLCowBoy -- Your post did not address my position that knowledge plays the central role in ability. Are you agreeing with that but saying that it is the knowledge that is inborn? Or are you saying that something else that is inborn is the source of our abilities. And if it is something else, what is it?
    Actually, I did. If knowledge = ability, then how can I prodigy with no tutoring have the same "ability" as some of those have gone through tutoring? I am not saying that an artist of 30 years will not be better in technical skill than the prodigy, but say, a 9 year old prodigy vs an 18-year old artist who has undergone training.

    If we take out talent from the equation, the closest known behavior I can come up with is that can "give rise" to such ability is instinct.

    I am a bit iffy about hereditary ability, but let's take myself for example: my dad is an architect, yet, he never taught me how to draw. According to him, the closest he ever came to tutoring me early on was when he showed me what crayons could do. I was 2. According to him, by around 3-4 years old, I was trying (stressing that word) to copy the images on my books - but he never taught me to do so (and this was before they gave me the draw-by-numbers books - as I didn't know what a dotted line, nor what numbers were).

    So, pray tell, what was it then that "encouraged" me to draw? Instinct? Was it hereditary? I can't say it was the books my dad had around, because I have never, in my entire life, drawn homes or buildings (which is what he does). I have always illustrated objects that move - cars, people, etc. Yet, he did not, and still does not, have a single book on those subjects - much less on how to draw them.

    That's why I don't think talent is hereditary - not only has it been unproven (hereditary ability would mean that academic intelligence is inherited, which is untrue, and I think there are a number of great artists out there who were borne of parents who have no artistic ability whatsoever), it would also be an Aryan way of thinking.

    Which brings me back to knowledge...

    I can honestly say, without any ounce of ego, that when I see something art-related, I KNOW right away how it was done. The medium, the process, everything. However, I KNOW if I can imitate it, and inversely, I KNOW if I can't.

    If I know the process (knowledge), but I can't imitate it exactly - does that mean I have less ability than the other?

    Your argument would lean toward the theory that I may not have the knowledge to apply it - (physical knowledge). This is where I say that it's not that black and white.

    For example: You and I will definitely hold a pen differently, due to the shape of our hands. One of us may even be left handed. Either of this may be to our advantage: it may be easier for me to draw lines form South West-North East, while it may be easier for you to do the opposite. While this example is trivial, what I'm trying to get at is the fact that there are certain factors that we are born with, which we have no power over. Just like how one singer's voice is more suited to a type of genre compared to another.

    Are all doctors suited to be surgeons? Nope. Ask any doctor - if your hand shakes, you're not doing surgery. Period. Is the lack of hand-shaking acquired knowledge? Nope. It's completely biological / physical (but not hereditary).

    This is the reason why I disagree with the knowledge theory - it is a blanket theory that can go the other way. Lack of knowledge can basically be associated with lack of ability. Yet, if you look at it on a case-to-case basis, that's certainly not the case.

    Which brings back, full circle, to my first post in this thread:

    Technical skill, or knowledge, is by no means, a measure of one's ability. A popular example would be Apple designer Jonathan Ives. In his field, there are many good designers, and many great ones (even genius ones) as well. Most of them are older than him, and by theory, should be more knowledgeable.

    Yet, how is it, that a man of his age, who is most likely still far too young to know of every possible technique in his field, be so successful, and so influential? There is no doubt in anyone's mind that his designs are beautiful.

    Now, at the bottom end of the spectrum, we have who I call "Photoshoppers". These are the people who devour tutorial upon tutorial of how to do this and that in Photoshop. Yet, when you ask them to come up with something new and original, they become completely stumped, panic, and then try to find something to copy.

    Yet, they are knowledgeable are they not? In varying degrees, they understand perspective, color, textures, structure, light and shadow, etc. all the different techniques - however, IMO, they are not designers.

    That is the defining line between true designers and pretenders. True designers can create something that is 1) original (to an extent), 2) addresses the problem/job/task/project at hand, while the great ones 3) surpass expectations, and the genius ones, 4) influence everybody in his/her field. The techniques and "knowledge" are merely tools.


    In simple english:

    Compare The Beatles and the millions of Beatles cover bands? Some of which can sound EXACTLY like them? So it's definitely not musical technique is it?

    So what's the difference?

    Talent?
    Instinct?
    Genetics?

    Take your pick.



    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

    This is why I said it's ridiculous for a designer to "compete" or debate over who is better. Jonathan Ives wasn't trying to be the next Da Vinci. Neither was Philippe Starck. Or CrisVector. Or Stina Person.

    They all wanted to be the best they could be. Jonathan Ives then was trying to be Jonathan Ives now. So was Starck and Person.



    If we bring back the topic of talent, and state that Jonathan Ives is a naturally talented/gifted designer, it does not lessen the abilities and the achievements of Philippe Starck. Does the fact that Ives is younger and has achieved both critical and commercial success strip Starck of his genius? Absolutely not. And anyone thinking otherwise would be a fool.

    This is why we have to look inward: know what we are good at, what we suck at, and then move forward. No point living in a bubble of false hopes and made-up abilities, because the only person who thinks you are actually being productive is yourself.

    And, moving towards our field - this is why some people simply have to be told: you're not a designer, you're a programmer. And, alternatively, you're not a programmer, you're a designer.

    That's not called destructive. That's called keeping it real.
    Last edited by XLCowBoy; Aug 1, 2008 at 00:49. Reason: Used a less competitive layman example

  6. #56
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    It looks useful,but I can't understand German.

  7. #57
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Ok XLCowBoy -- Actually you did not really answer my question cleanly. You never answered with yes or no as the question called for: a black and white response

    You bring up how puzzled you are about the prodigy and find the answer in the only way you can explain this phenomena: it must be innate, how would a young person be able to be so very good and surpass many of his much older peers? You bring up the question why some are so much better than others in their field (let us stick with the artistic abilities, but it applies the same to all things we do mentally).

    There are explanations without resorting to the belief that such a thing is inborn. The idea of an innate ability is a very convenient answer that is widely accepted as truth -- as many beliefs are. Innate ability is often referred to as a gift bestowed onto you by some superior entity and accepted as such. It does not require identifying anything, understanding anything, or questioning anything, as is the case with all beliefs. Once you adapt belief as your guide in answering questions that puzzle you, you block reasoning and understanding because you think that the question has been answered already, you have accepted belief as truth and you close the door. I see a crack in the door you have tried to close and that is good. Leave the door open and try to look at it in another way by saying that you do not know at this time. There are many things we do not know and admitting that is not shameful. Belief is a convenient way to get around reasoning, not a substitute for knowing which derives from reasoning.

    We are born without any knowledge and you have stated that you do not think that we inherit traits such as abilities from our parents -- that is right. If we were born with knowledge, that would be called instinct as you also have posed as a possibility. Humans do not have instincts as animals do, that is the very thing that sets us apart from animals. Instinct is knowledge that has to be only prodded a bit to come to the fore, and if ability was born into us I would have to call that an instinct and all of us would have exactly the same instinct, as is the case with animals. So all of us would be automatically great artists after a bit of prodding

    Early on -- people underestimate how capable the young human is -- we make already conscious decisions about what gives us pleasure, in your case it was drawing and playing with colors. You were surrounded by an atmosphere of art (architecture is the highest form of art), so you absorbed just by being surrounded by the very way people looked at things, discussed things and did things. You applied to your own first works the snippets of principles you picked up just by being there, the principles are independent of subject matter, i.e. looking at it simplistically architecture uses the same principles as drawing a horse or a car. You were not taught in a formal way then yet, but you were supported to stretch and through your own observations proceeded to become better. Somewhere along the way other interests came along and you diverted your attention to those (or were forced to through school obligations or the joy you derived from these other things). You could not give your all to the study of art and might have lost some of the pleasure in it for some time. So you never caught up with the lost years that were spent pursuing something else. You also accepted this level that you were at after schooling and built a business, which requires much time to learn new and different knowledge in other areas other than your art. Attention was diverted again away from your skills as an artist.

    Now the prodigy is a person highly focused on the task at hand, he derives intense pleasure from his achievements and therefore pushes much harder and intensely than the average person, spends many hours without losing focus to learn. One hears often from stunned parents how they can not explain this, but this wondering also comes only from the idea that ability must be inborn or inherited and they relate this back to themselves, ignoring that we are individuals and mental traits are not handed down to children. It might be that some people are born with a larger capacity to learn than others, I do not know that and science has not proven any of this, so I can not say. That might be an explanation for some of the differences in intelligence and ease of learning, for all abilities are learned, even if a person is not conscious of this learning as it was the case with you in your early childhood.

    When I was a child, nothing would please me more than being able to show with my drawings and paintings what I was thinking. And you did not draw either without some kind of idea behind it, something you wanted to say. That spurned us on to get better so we could say more in a more understandable way to people around us. Drawing and painting are a form of language, they are abstracted thoughts and a conveyance of our own sense of life. As a child you have a rather limited content/meaning of what you portray, your sense of life has not fully developed, even the prodigy has only the beginnings of his greatness, though the sense of his self is much further along than the average person's. And this a very crucial point: your own outlook on life, what it means to you, what kind of philosophy you have adapted as valid for the guidance of your thinking. That thinking is what fuels you expression, and as you perfectly stated: knowing Photoshop does not make you a designer or artist, it is your understanding of the world around you and the understanding of yourself that does. Photoshop is only a tool just like a brush is or a pencil or a chisel or a beautiful voice.

    This value system/philosophy that you have adapted will also determine what you like or do not like, what kind of art (broad meaning going all the way from fine art to design of mundane items) you prefer, because it is the sense of life that the artist has that pulls you in or repels you and how much the work is a reflection of your own self. The more you agree with the artist, the more you like his work, the language the artist uses has translated the meaning to you. There can also be the admiration of a technique without an agreement of the content, or an agreement with the content without respect for the technique. So when you say that you know what is good, are you talking about the technique, the content or both? I separate those things and can like a work in spite of… or dislike a work because of an element in it that repels me. You work in branding and illustration, so I would say the same principles apply. And principles and values are what makes you judge a work. Your principles, your values.

    But there are fundamental principles in design that will make an objective evaluation possible. Therefore we can say objectively if a work is good or bad. Again, judging aspects of a work are a very good means to find out if the work is good or not, independent of ones likes or dislikes.

    You talk about the inward looking and evaluating of ones ability to be an artist or not. All I can say is that it takes an enormous effort (even if it is fun) to be one. If one wants to be an artist and does not spend endless hours of focused learning that brings pleasure, then yes, one should try to find another field that brings this pleasure in equal measure. Wishing to be an artist because it all looks like fun can not be equated to going through the actual work to become one. And there is a direct correlation of how intensely one studies and works with the quality produced. By intensity I mean working without paying attention to anything else around you, forgetting that you need food, that you need sleep, etc.

    Often children are stopped in their development by misguided ideas that parents and teachers have. How often have you heard people say that a child should be a child and not over-burdened with anything? Let him play they say, ignoring that the learning is a form of play and a useful one at that. To learn intensely is a pursuit in solitude. That also is discouraged often by parents and teachers. To get along with other people and to do things as groups is given a high priority and with that solitude and intense learning is stifled. Often I hear this little phrase: "Oh, I do not want my child to be a genius, that will only create problems for him later in life." Again a devastating false idea that hinders the development of ability.

    ------

    I think that the term "Talent" is used as substitute for ability, and as people do not acknowledge that knowledge is the root of ability, talent is just a convenient term that has become accepted as a given given (intended). I used to be up-tide about this term, but I have come to accept it within the context of substitute for ability/knowledge and not as an indication of another inborn trait.

    Genetics only applies to things we are born with physically -- things we inherit -- like hair color, body type, keen eyes or hearing, a beautiful voice. All things that have nothing to do with learning. When you are born with a beautiful voice that does not make you a singer yet, you must learn how to control it and manipulate it into an artistic expression. That is where the mind comes into play. You must learn the ability to use this given physical attribute and mold it into a tool that your mind controls. The singer uses his voice just like the painter uses the brush. The brush is not guided by an unnamed force -- but by a mind.

    Remember the old question and answer about a water color artist's work: "How long did it take you to paint this work?"
    Answer: "40 years and 40 minutes." It encapsulates the process perfectly, some take only 20 years to learn

    -----

    I consider myself a good artist. In some areas I excel, in other areas I am not so good. My ability is directly related to how intensely and how long I worked in each field. I started early in life as a loner very much devoted to growing my ability and the joy I got from it. The ability to judge works of other people often exceeds my own ability to execute such a work myself, because I never devoted enough time to that particular area. But I know the principles that apply to all these works. And that is probably the case with you as well. In saying that you can recognize a great work from a good work you imply this.

    PS: I want to thank you for making me think through this issue
    Ulrike
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  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post

    PS: I want to thank you for making me think through this issue
    Lol. This thing turned into an entire Saturday afternoon conversation with the missus as well.

    Regarding your post:

    I find it amusing that I actually do agree with you on a lot of points, however, if we remove semantics and agree that talent/ability are the same thing, and agree that instinct may be the wrong word, it still doesn't truly debunk that concept that there may be something inborn or physical/biological/genetic about one's abilities.

    I remember a psychologist (name escapes memory unfortunately) who spoke about the different kinds intelligence: academic, physical, and artistic. Under academic, you would have maths, history, and engineering. Under physical, you would have sports, dancing, etc., while under artistic, you would have illustrations, music, etc.

    He also said that an individual may posses 1, 2, or 3 of these, although in varying degrees (e.g. it would obviously be impossible to be 100% artistic and then 100% physical - 80-20 maybe, or even 70-20-10... you get the idea.)

    Now, if we follow the line of thought that 1)the ability to sing is inborn (not inherited, but something did happen during that individual's gestation period), and that certain physical and genetic traits are more suited to certain athletic endeavors rather than others (e.g. a short-legged person is generally not really "built for" running, unless he/she has mutant muscles), where does that lead those who are intelligent in art or music?

    We all now know that aggressive, even criminal, behavior can be traced to a part of the brain that control aggression - and that criminals and aggressive individuals have that part of the brain in a slightly larger size, compared to the rest of human population.

    Now, while your post states that a LOT (let's agree on 95%) of one's artistic ability comes from "nurture" factors, such as influence, practice, passion, etc., it still does not effectively answer why we are not all artistic, even if we wish to be.

    To recall an old saying: "I love that song, but it does not love me."

    And I see this far too often. While I grew up with a peer who was better than me, I also grew up with a group of friends that were into art, who were my age, who were into the same things I was into, etc. - basically, we did the exact same things, and we had the same inspirations (we often shared books with one another).

    Yet, without any bragging intended, it was obvious whenever we get together to illustrate or do something artsy, that they were nowhere near my level (or my peer's level for that matter). I saw details that they didn't. Details that even after I had pointed out to them, they would "forget". I would also continue to find new details, and work them into my art. Yet, even after they had learned of these details, they still could not.

    Which brings me back to that psychologist's theory:

    A lot of us engage in sports, a lot of enjoy listening to music - some would even call themselves connoisseurs or critics, and a lot of us enjoy looking at art, even collect them and study them, almost becoming an authority on the subject.

    However, not all of us can create music (as opposed to simply playing music), and not all of us can be Olympic champions (as opposed to being solely trainers), and not all of us can create art (as opposed to copying art).

    Which leads us to the questions of why. Why is that? There is definitely something there. Something we were born with that other people were not. Just like how some people were born with a voice, or born with the genetic make-up to leap higher than others, or how some of us are born with more aggression or energy than others (I'm sure you've seen the difference between an active and a passive infant - at 2 months, still too young to be influenced by "nurture").

    That is why I cannot subscribe to the 100% nurture theory, it still comes off as a blanket theory that has a heck of a lot of variables which, when used negatively, easily create an "excuse" for those people who are not very good at art to continue to swim upstream. Honestly, they're better off doing something else.

    Something in an artist's brain is definitely "switched-on". Much like how one who leans towards music has "an ear", those who lean towards the visual arts have an "eye".

    While a singer, like a songwriter, has an "ear", he/she is also born with a special physical gift - "a voice". I still subscribe to the simple idea that while we all may have a little art in us, not everyone of us is born with "a hand".

    HOWEVER...


    (Pardon the choice of words - trying to find something common here: e.g. the words "design" and thus, "designer", are so vague that I would rather not use it).

    Even if a singer has "a voice", that does not mean he/she can write a song. Much like how even if an artist has "a hand", that does not mean he/she can create something original (e.g. does not need to copy to execute). That last ability, the ability to "create", is what I think exists in all of us - just in different marriages: a great businessman can "create" ways to improve his business. A great leader can "create" ways to inspire others. A great composer can "create" music to appreciate, and a great artist can "create" art for others to appreciate.

    *scratches chin*

    If you look at it objectively, I would have to say that you could measure "ability" like this:

    ability / talent =
    1. intelligence (insight, attention to detail, ability to process learned / new knowledge, creativity?)
    2. knowledge and wisdom (learned)
    3. physical / genetic traits (primal mind, such as patience, aggression, etc. and physical makeup, such as being heavy or light-handed, left or right, fast or slow, etc. etc.)
    4. practice (skill and mastery / efficiency through repetition)
    5. passion and interest.


    Going by this, I think we are both onto something, but I would still stick with telling people the "real deal" through the words "you simply don't have the talent".

    ...because it sounds a lot better than "you're too stupid, too old, too impatient, too clumsy, too lazy, too uneducated, and you have no real interest in art, whatsoever."


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    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    Lol. This thing turned into an entire Saturday afternoon conversation with the missus as well.
    Only a short reply now. It is taking a bit of time, these are complex posts, so I need a bit of a breather (work is pressing as well). I think that we have come closer in our view, but there is much more to nitpick and open up. So, when I find a few more hours in the next week I will get a little bit into your last post and see. I have to mull this over some and clear my mind more about specifics and find some more threads to pull.
    Ulrike
    TUTs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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    SitePoint Zealot theawristocrat's Avatar
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    Lynda video tutorials and the books are great. Ive learned dreamweaver from one of her books.

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    SitePoint Enthusiast tokyobabydoll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Sharpe View Post
    You're not going to find any books or tutorials that will satisfy -- the best way to learn is to do.
    Also said by my boss, formerly an art professor, when I mentioned I wanted to go back to school and study design. Hands on experience in the workplace is the best teacher.

    Also, if you have the talent and determination, the internet is always there to help. I subscribe to various design blogs and check out new techniques everyday--its always a learning process.
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    Youtube it if it is vids you want. If you ever want material that you can rip to shreds in your editing and learning efforts, be sure to drop by creativecommons.org to get some source material that can be edited for commercial use.

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    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    @XLCowBoy -- I was really pinned down this week with an order I had to get out fast. Sorry about this long delay (Clients, always want stuff yesterday)

    Why are you amused? I knew that there were a lot of overlapping ideas here, as was often the case over time when various subject matters were discussed here on the forum, the difference lies where we start out and that in the end will determine how we would tell a person not to get into this field of design or continue with the effort.

    To the psychologist's mention of the different categories people might fall into: I doubt those kinds of statements very much, because again it is presupposed that we are born with innate abilities and fit into really neat boxes. I just reject that because of the way humans start to learn.

    When the little human's cognitive development starts at the moment he is free from the mother's womb, he starts to look at things with focused attention and gathers perceptual information (our senses). At the time the human starts to speak, concepts are formed through a volitional process. Each word is a representation of a concept. More abstract concepts are formed later in life. Because words are concepts, I reject the way people use the term semantics, that leaves out the definition and clear concept underlying each word. Forming concepts is a learned skill, a self started skill, just like setting blocks in the correct way on top of each other so that they do not tumble down. Every human has to learn them. A good example of this process is the learning by Helen Keller, the deaf-blind woman who went through this much later in life because of her disability. The process of understanding concepts was taught to her by a patient care taker. This process is normally done without much support from another person, we employ our senses to get a start and we automate what this observation has taught us, the first knowledge, first concept. Example is a car, where we do not look at its individual parts but at the sum, the concept: car. This is also the point where we find the basic things that give us pleasure and that in my opinion is the point where we lay down the groundwork of many of the interests we will have throughout our lives, and that is why it seems to many people that abilities are inborn. We can not remember this time in our lives, but when you observe a little guy, you can see this process all along.

    So, you think that we as artists have a given trait, an innate ability. We disagree on this very base point, but as we go higher on the inverted pyramid of ability, we start to agree that we must work at this skill we have. The more we work, the better we get. Right?

    So then it is just the point of excellence that you would think is not reachable by a person not born with the ability?

    The way I think about it is that you have to have tenacity and focused learning to get really good at all things we do, especially artistic endeavors. As an artist you not only have to learn the different media and what you can achieve with them, but you must be able to analyze the world around you in order to produce art.

    When we get to designing a web site, all of this ability of an artist is not needed, it does help, it is great to have, but just a basic understanding of how to divide up space and organize information will be sufficient -- as you mentioned somewhere above, you work just with basic shapes to get a layout started If you can clearly convey a message without a lot of fanfares, that is all that is needed to do basics, but if you want to get special and great from the visual side of it, then an artist's ability is very helpful and essential. And there it comes back to the OP's original question: How to learn graphic design? Branding that might be involved in the designing of a site goes a little higher up on the scale of artistic ability and understanding of specific needs. You must be able to abstract thoughts into shapes and colors. That is a process learned as well. You find over time what kind of shape or curve says what. What font will express a certain meaning and so on. It takes years to learn and that is the hook here. When a person starts to get interested in this in his late teens or early adulthood, as is often the case with people who have learned coding and now want to include graphics into their repertoire, they have to start at the beginning -- that will take time. So to learn one has to either have some good teachers to point the way and make the period of learning shorter, or one has to learn just as one goes along and hope for the best. But it will require much time and hard work. In most cases the amount of time to learn this at this stage in life besides what one does to earn a living is not there. The question of why it is so hard to learn this comes up at some point of course and the convenient answer of the inborn ability is there for the taking, when all along it is just really an issue of time and intensity.

    Do you remember when you were a child and drew and painted things over and over, lines that started to flow finally, colors that would sing after some effort? Those days were playful but they were the groundwork that the person starting later in life is missing. There is a whole slew of things one does and not recognize as training in the act of doing. That time in childhood is a very important learning, our established ways of thinking are not there yet, we are much more receptive to novel ideas and experiments than we are later on. Think back to the Renaissance when the arts where taught in schools where the boys (girls were not allowed to learn) lived and worked day in and day out. They were schooled early in life with an intensity that is unmatched today. They became the great masters -- to this day the best. This early training is what is missing today. But with intense interest and discipline -- yes, artists (except the drip and drop types) are a very disciplined bunch contrary to what many think -- one can get quite excellent. Wishing never gets results, one must put forth the concentrated effort. This effort is what is underestimated, this intensity in learning. If you want this, you must forego many other things you would like to do. This would also answer the question you posted:
    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    …it still does not effectively answer why we are not all artistic, even if we wish to be.
    Attention to detail is a learned trait as well. I developed that very early in life also, I remember well making a conscious effort to look at things, find out the whys and the what. My playmates were not interested either, so I split and spend my time making sure to understand things. Intensity. Curiosity. Desire to become good at this because the pleasure I derived from it, more pleasure than being around people who did not share this interest. It has carried over to this day. I rather spent my time working within my field of art than sitting around and doing small talk. So the learning is continued, never ending.

    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    If you look at it objectively, I would have to say that you could measure "ability" like this:

    ability / talent =

    1. intelligence (insight, attention to detail, ability to process learned / new knowledge, creativity?)
    2. knowledge and wisdom (learned)
    3. physical / genetic traits (primal mind, such as patience, aggression, etc. and physical makeup, such as being heavy or light-handed, left or right, fast or slow, etc. etc.)
    4. practice (skill and mastery / efficiency through repetition)
    5. passion and interest.


    Going by this, I think we are both onto something, but I would still stick with telling people the "real deal" through the words "you simply don't have the talent".

    ...because it sounds a lot better than "you're too stupid, too old, too impatient, too clumsy, too lazy, too uneducated, and you have no real interest in art, whatsoever."
    Pretty much agree with this, except that I do not subscribe to the primal mind idea either. But over time we establish traits like patience etc. As I understand it, left handedness is an inborn way the brain is arranged.

    So, to tell somebody that there is little hope for them is warranted if you assess properly their intensity and willingness to devote themselves to this almost cloistered life to learn what they wish. I would never tell a person that they are to stupid or have no ability to learn. I would tell them this: "If you want this, it takes an enormous effort without regard to any other thing you would like to do, without regard to other people, without regard to anything else. That can come later after the learning has been done to a point where professional results can be seen. If you are not willing to give up all these things that you take as a given in your life, then you will not be able to achieve your goal and I would advise you to find another occupation."

    My strong conviction is that any person willing, truly willing to go through this rigorous time of learning will succeed.

    It is a good discussion, very productive thinking
    Ulrike
    TUTs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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    Oh my. I need some time to digest all that. I shall have to get back to you.

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    Look at some video tutorials in Youtube. There are lots of tutorials about graphic designing.

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