Ever encounter someone who is light years beyond your ability? Be it art, sports or some other discipline? If you have, then you know it can be demoralizing. You slave away in your particular discipline and then along comes some wunderkind, prodigy or inhuman superstar. You watch their performance and a part of your spirit sinks. It just doesn't seem fair and you start to question your path.
I recently discovered a South Korean artist whose drawing ability blew me away. His name is Kim Jung Gi and his background appears to be in cartooning and illustration. Much of his art is similar to work seen in graphic novels and comic books. His art is clean with strong contrasts and amazing perspective. He is particularly adept at creating works that mimic the look of a fish eye camera. But the thing that makes him stand out? He draws completely free hand, with no guidelines at all. And he does it rapidly.
Watch this video of Kim drawing with a brush pen and I think you'll appreciate how remarkable his ability is.
I was entertained by the comments below this video. Stuff like ,"This made me question my existence" and "How does one even become this good at drawing?" One of the funniest remarks was, "Kim is a robot from the future."
It's natural to get a bit discouraged when we witness standout performances. After all, who doesn't want to improve and reach a masterful level in our art or chosen discipline? What we forget is that we don't know the back story. We see the result but not the years of blood, sweat and tears it took to get there. Like the "overnight" music star that actually spent many years practicing, performing and waiting for that big break.
A few commenters on Kim's YouTube video reminded the others about the back story. One wrote "People, THIS is what dedication looks like." Another simply wrote "practice x1000." Consider the Beverly Sills quote that hangs in my office:"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
In interviews, Kim Jung Gi admits that he draws constantly. He fills journals with sketches of everything from animals to people to machines. He is always observing and sketching. The images become burned into his memory and he is able to reproduce them.
Kim's approach to drawing is different than traditional methods of careful measurement, such as sight size. Also, he relies on his memory when creating a work rather than real time observation. He has a unique gift for visualizing objects in a three dimensional way and then reproducing them in unusual perspectives and positions.
When I first viewed Kim's videos, I felt a tinge of jealousy and frustration. "Man, how come I'm not drawing at that level," I thought to myself. But then I realized that his work excited and inspired me more than it demoralized. I admired Kim's humility and simple advice to observe and draw constantly. The more I watched his amazing drawings, I started to get ideas about how to improve my own work. I resolved to make time for more sketching and practice.
We should celebrate more talented people because they show us what's possible. Their superior work can inspire and motivate us to seek higher levels of accomplishment. Over time we realize that talent is often the result of sustained and focused hard work.
So take heart. Celebrate those inspirational artists and people who are further along the path than you. In time, you may just find that folks are now looking up to you for inspiration and motivation.