This will be my last blog entry. Don’t worry, it’s not a sad story.
Why I started this blog.
I wrote the first entry in this blog on October 10, 2020, four months after I found a new love for drawing after a 26 year hiatus. My purpose was to document, in full, the path required to go from a beginning artist to a working professional. I wanted to capture every drawing, every mistake, every art block, every frustration, every breakthrough, every exercise, every book or video studied, and every class taken down to the minute. Why would someone set out on this insane task? Because that’s what I was looking for when I started learning how to draw. There are plenty of resources out there, but when most professionals talk about how they got good they would say something like “I drew a lot, and then I was good.” But I always wondered how much exactly they drew, or what kinds of practice they did, or what classes they took. I could never find a satisfactory trail of artifacts that sufficiently detailed an artist’s journey from beginner to pro, so I decided to create that trail myself.
Well, I’m not a professional artist, so in that sense I failed to finish this project. The grand total amount of time I tracked was
| ALL |*Total time*| *4737:59*|
On top of that I’m sure I got at least 300 hours in during the first four months before I started tracking time, so I made it to about 5,000 hours. That’s half way to the fabled 10,000 hours required for mastery! I think if I kept taking Brainstorm courses for another year, I could have gotten a job as a concept artist. Some of my fellow classmates who were just one or two levels above me were getting hired, so I was getting close.
Even though the project technically failed because I did not achieve the goal I set out for, I still consider this blog a great success. I’m proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished over the past three years, and I’ve learned so much about productivity, motivation, and discipline. Several people have reached out to tell me how I’ve inspired them to undertake their own art journey. That in itself signifies success in my eyes, and I hope someone out there completes the task of documenting an entire art journey from beginner to pro.
Why I’m ending this blog.
I’m not choosing to stop out of anger or fear or frustration or hopelessness. In fact, there is no negative emotion at all influencing my decision, but rather enthusiasm and passion for the next phase in my life.
For the last 9 months or so I’ve been obsessed with the Huberman Lab Podcast. Andrew Huberman is a professor of ophthalmology and neurobiology at Stanford School of Medicine. Listening to the podcast was like having the missing owner’s manual for your brain, especially the early episodes, where he walks through the latest research in what we know about how the brain works and how it relates to all aspects of life. I started getting more and more interested in science and the brain, especially as it relates to the dopamine system, motivation, and drive.
About two weeks ago I was walking from my kitchen into my living room and a voice in my head suddenly shouted out “PhD in Neuroscience!” I paused, wondered where that thought came from, then immediately sat down at the computer and started researching programs in neuroscience at my local university. I applied, was admitted, enrolled, and am starting next week. I’m not in the PhD program yet because I lack the biology and chemistry requirements, so I need to do a couple years of undergraduate work first. I’m getting a BS in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, focusing on neurobiology and trying to get as much research experience as possible.
That little voice that called out to me and dictated my next path in life is the same voice that told me to go back to college at 21 to study literature after having dropped out of high school at age 16. It’s the same voice that told me to get an MA in comparative literature. It’s the same voice that told me to study abroad in Germany, and to teach English in Russia and China. It’s the same voice that told me to get a BS in Computer Science (to pay for all my previous student loans). And it’s the same voice that reminded me how much I used to love drawing as kid. I’ve always been a renaissance man. I’ve been interested in too many things to just pick one career and remain there for the rest of my life. However, I’m not starting over. I’m continuing to build and add on to my skillset and knowledge. Maybe someday you’ll see me publish a study on “Motivation and Dopamine in the Brains of Visual Artists.”
Ending the blog does not mean I will never do any art again. I still plan to keep art as a hobby, and plan to finish the Evolve program in my free time. I’ve heard that several Nobel laureates in science had artistic hobbies. I don’t regret my three years of art study at all. It helped me through some depression and rekindled a passion I hadn’t felt since 5th grade. Now, I get to take everything I’ve learned through building an art discipline and apply it to science. Good science is art, after all.
I’m really excited for the future and I want to thank everyone who followed this blog for taking an interest in what I tried to achieve. Good luck in your own journeys, wherever they may lead.