10,000 Hours Will Make You An Illustrating Master!

I've been asked before how long I've been drawing and doing art. And I usually respond by saying I came out of the womb with a crayon. It's not true, but I have been drawing for a long time. And really that is what it takes to get proficient and eventually become good. Yes, I had plenty of raw talent, but it didn't mean a thing until I just did it and did it and did it again for a looooooooong time.

If you want a more precise answer, I can give you that too. Exactly how long will it take if you start at this very moment to decide to become an illustrator? Or if you've been slaving away at it for a while, why haven't you mastered it yet? Well, a book I recently read by the amusing and intellectual, Malcolm Gladwell will spell it out for you (Can you see the wit and intelligence in his eyes in the photo below?).

In his book, Outliers, he says it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. That's how the Beatles became the Beatles, and Bill Gates became Bill Gates. Talent wasn't enough. The drive to work hard spearheaded it and the lucky chances to build up 10,000 hours of doing it made them masters. You can do it too. Yeah, 10,000 hours is what you're shooting for.

If you break it down into weeks and years, you should be at that drawing desk for at least 20 hours a week for 10 years. If you can manage to find a lucky break and are able to do it for 40 hours a week then you're looking at 5 years. Is that a lot of time at the desk? Hell, yeah! But if you love illustrating, it won't even seem like a job. You'll love it. You won't complain. You'll be sad when you're away from that desk.

Yeah, that's exactly how I feel right now as I'm writing this post instead of drawing and painting. I'm outta here. I'm going drawing.

Good luck and hope you're well on your way----if not already a master!


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