There is always a hesitation before turning in a finished job. It occurs to me as I complete this book, and it will occur to you when you look over a piece of your work: Could it not have been done better? It may seem to you that you should have used a different approach, or a better method of construction. My own philosophy is to do the best I am capable of within the time requirements, and then to make the decision that the drawing is now finished and must be turned in. Lack of decision is a harmful thing. You can learn by your mistake and make amends, but the energy must go into a fresh effort.
Learn to use time wisely. You will not always have the time to do a drawing twice or three times in order to select the best example. While you arc a student, use precious hours to the best advantage. A bit of anatomy misunderstood in an important job that must go tonight, a problem in perspective that remains unsolved, ruins a painting on which you have spent days and paid expensive models' fees.
When, early in your career, an art director asks you to re-do a drawing, be grateful that you are granted the time. It is a tragedy when your drawing ought to be done over and cannot be for lack of time. You deliver something you do not like, and the publisher is forced to accept it. He is generous if he gives you another job.
The term "talent" needs clarifying. To any man who has slaved to acquire skill in his art, it is most irritating to have his ability referred to as a "gift." Perhaps there is one genius in a hundred years or more who can achieve perfection by "divine inspiration." I have never met such a man, and I do not know any successful artist who did not get there by the sweat of his brow. Again, I do not know of a single successful artist who does not continue to work hard.
There is no formula in art that will not break down as soon as the effort behind it ceases. But, to compensate, there is no reward on earth that can compare with a pat on the back for a hard job well done. Talent, in its underclothes, is a capacity for a ccrtain kind of learning. Talent is an urge, an insatiable desire to excel, coupled with indefatigable powers of concentration and production. Talent and ability arc like sunlight and a truck garden. The sun must be there to begin with, but, added to it, there must be plowing, planting, weeding, hoeing, destroying of parasites—all have to be done before your garden will yield produce. According to those one-inch ads we see so often, you can be an artist, play the piano, write a bwk, be compelling, convince anybody, make friends, and get a high-salaried job if you'll just sit down and answer it—and, of course, "kick in."
If you want to draw, if you want to gamble all your chips for stakes that are really worth while, you have an excellent chance of winning. If you just dabble, you will certainly lose your ante, for the others in the game arc playing their hands for all they are worth. I have met students who have said they would like to learn drawing as a "sideline." There are no sidelines. You are either in the game or out of it. "Well, then, how do I know I'm going to be good enough to make a go of it?" No one can possibly be assured that he is going to be good enough at anything to make a go of it. Faith in yourself and industry are all that any of us have got to go on.
An honest book on drawing can only point the way and suggest procedure. A book of downright promise can be no tiling but downright fake. It is natural for young men and women to look for the "secrets" that allegedly assure success. It is even reasonable to feel that these
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