How I became an artist

I’m one of those people who were born as an artist. I started drawing/doodling at the age of 1 or 2, when I could hold a pencil in my hand. I took art classes as a child, to study the traditional drawing techniques and water colour. By grade 4, I could sketch a Roman bust with proper shading, and by grade 5, I was able to draw live portraits of people with graphite pencil. In Secondary School and High School, my repertoire of artistic skills expanded to coloured pencils, acrylic, ink, oil, pastels, and many more that students only get to learn in art college. I was set for life as an artist.

Of course, to make the story more interesting, something unexpected happened in the second last year of High School. I learned from reliable sources, that a career in art is not sufficient to make a living. So being the smarty pants I was (being very good at physics, math, and science), I decided to pursue a career in Engineering, thinking that I would still have enough spare time to pursue my artistic endeavours. Thus, I embarked on an unfamiliar path which I falsely believed to be a life of comfort and prestige. What actually happened in the next 10 + was a beyond painful and unbearable in both the physical and mental sense.

To make a long story short, I realised that worldly riches and the pursuit for scientific knowledge were not meant for me. I was better off sticking with my God-given talents and staying within the realm of my physical competence. In other words, I picked up my craft as an artist again.

Are you able to draw after so many years of being away from it? Many have asked. If there was one thing I gained in the academic world, it would be the ability to observe things in great detail. And this has actually greatly enhanced my artistic abilities. But how, one may ask? Well, the truth is, everything in the Universe are intricately connected with one another. So Art is intimately connected to many other realms of life. A great artist must first be a good observer, and able to see the nuances and details found in the ordinary things of life (i.e. the way light falls on an object). Then comes technical skills, which can be learned through repetition and practice. And when one possesses both skills, then creativity will burst forth naturally as a butterfly emerges from a cocoon.

I am now back on the path I was meant to go on, and more content than I’ve ever been.

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