Artists, Mastering your craft 10,000 hours from Malcolm Gladwell new book.

If you focus on practicing your craft drawing and painting for 100,000 hours, what could you become?
I know I have not yet arrive that that strides…it was an on off for me. Now I have to reconsider my schedule and focus more on my craft. This art blog help me stay on course immensely, and some day I hope hard work pays off. 🙂

I just read this book by Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success Highly recommended!!!

In the first chapter (section), he talk about 10,000 hours that takes someone to be a master of of her trade. He mention Bill Gates, Mozart, etc.
His premise is that there are (at least?) two different kinds of geniuses, one is the type who may arrive at genius via an incredible inimitable moment of inspiration, another is someone who’s very smart and arrives at genius after years of focused study. 10,000 hours mastery theory.
Gladwell suggested that studies show 10,000 hours of focused study is what’s needed to become a master of something. And this translates to about ten years (actually 11.5, but thereabouts).

This makes a lot of sense to me and gives an interesting fixed boundary to work with. If you start drawing and painting seriously at 16 (four to eight hours a day), and stay there for ten years, at 26 you should be a master. And filmmakers and artists who start at 20, may hit their stride at 30. And of course you can accelerate or slow down the process according to how much you want to focus. And it highlights how you inhibit your potential in one field by spreading yourself across many fields. The phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” speaks directly to this 10,000 hours theory.

Anyway, the book is pretty long but the particular chapter was interesting to me and related to our field so I thought I would share it with you guys.

Summery of the book:
In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from… *The Outliers* (out this week) focuses on success and the hard work, social context and cultural background that explains why some people excel and others don’t. He has a related article in The New Yorker on genius (trivia note: a related post of his on this topic was rejected a long time ago by the New Yorker). Gladwell’s new book seems better at explaining the success of some than in its prescriptions for how to get others to succeed and so on.

Good luck to us all with 10,000 hours. Let me know what your thought are on this post. 🙂

Mastering your craft with 10,000 hours

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About The Author
- Xia Taptara (黃曉聲 Huang XiaoShēng), currently a freelance concept artist for games and films, formerly a character concept artist for ArenaNet/NCsoft (GuildWars & Guildwars 2). I also work on various projects for Game of Thrones, Square-Enix, Paizo Publishing, Fantasy Fight Games, Disney Interactive, and many publishers & clients. I use Wacom Tablet Intuos and Photoshop CS2,3,4,5 to do most of my professional art work. I use pencil, pen, and traditional medium in my free time. I founded ( in 2007 to motivate myself to create more and better art. Also I get to draw and paint whatever the hell I want to. Hopefully I can inspired some young soul and old soul alike. *QUESTIONS & COMMENT: PLEASE POST THEM ON THE BLOG. Business Inquiry please e-mail me.

  • IlIl Deadlocked IlIl

    What if I suck at drawing? Right now I’m studying the fundamentals. I don’t know what field I want to go into specifically, mostly because my skills are just too low but i like Animation, concept art, and fine art. I like everything to be honeset..

    I’m 18. I feel like I’m never gonna reach that master level. I draw everyday for couple hours at least, because drawing makes me feel good.

  • Evie_L

    Never? 3 hours a day for 10 years – piece of cake. You don’t sound like you’re 80, so no problem.

  • Rayden

    i remember starting at twelve it was really bad for the first couple of years then it jumped up alot too bad with school i lost all the time i used to have for art and now its stuck at a point. another 7 years left to go

  • Marduk

    It seems reasonable that you will never arrive at mastery, but i feel so depressed that i have terrible art and i’ll have to see such pieces for a long time to come.

  • Barbara Roma

    I know what you mean. I love concept art, drawing, painting and I really want to master these crafts. However I live in a country (Brazil) that these crafts, especially concept art, are not prized and encouraged. Because of that I´m studying to master Art History to be a teacher in hope to be able to dedicate myself to my art and my job. I need make my living here to pursuit my art. You know what I mean 😉
    Otherwise I´ll starve to death! And when I read your post (I already read this book either) I thought to myself: how can I master both choice?!

  • Xia Taptara

    What do you mean? Once you mastering something, really master it. You should be able to make a career out of it. Then you can just keep on fine tuning it.
    If your career is not related to the field you are interested in yet, then yes, I really suggest put other things aside. Focus on not loosing your job and the career you want to pursue. Work twice as hard as anyone else.
    But again, people sometimes made decision that limits their real options. If it is easy, everyone else would be doing it. You know what I mean. 😉

  • Barbara Roma

    But if you really can’t focus in one thing?! I want to master my craft, however I need to have a job and a career to support me, so what can we do if you need master 2 things?!
    I’ve wondered this for so long….

  • jokayo

    this was a good article , in my opinion mastering something is not the goal , but how much you enjoy while you learn the thing you want to master , and in the other hand if others also enjoy and like what you do , thats would be the best hit , 🙂


  • Allen Wake Vg

    10 years of focus….It can be done if you have no other forces distracting you…that would be awesome if you could really just focus on one thing for 10 years imagine…


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