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This is what happens when one guy practices art every day for nine years (conceptart.org)
664 points by sadiq 2274 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 99 comments

The site seems to be under a lot of load. In case anyone (like me) is having trouble viewing the images, I wrote a quick script to scrape the images:


The naming format is "page_X_image_X.jpg".


Here's a video slideshow of the images:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/markerdmann.com/Paintings.mov http://vimeo.com/29510470

This video illustrates his progress much better then the original thread.

Could you do the same thing for this guy: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=114449

Sure. I'm running out the door, but I'll take a look this evening and post an update here.

Just out of plain curiosity, could I please see the scraping script?

Definitely. Here's the script:


Just let me know if there's anything I need to clarify.

Nice work! It would be even cooler if you added a timeline. :) (That or just simple text saying 1st year etc..)

Thanks for this - a video was the first idea that came to my mind.

17 minutes long. Wow.

Summary of the evolution of his work in a single image. Sample of his drawings (objects and self-portrait) in 2002 and then in 2011: http://artistadodia.postbit.com/jonathan-hardesty.html

This is fascinating. I think a really interesting project for someone (other than me) would be to collect each image, and have a whole bunch of people rate each one on a subjective scale from, let's say, 1 to 100. Then, draw a scatter plot of the ratings against time. I wonder what curves might show up? I also wonder whether there are any other datasets that might be used to determine if there's any common thread between learning processes like this.

I've started something similar 1.5 years ago, but with drawing, as painting is not really my thing (maybe it will). It is kind of my concept that to learn any skill/art/job/whatever, you have to want it really really hard, copy/copy/copy/copy the masters, and not judge yourself at all while doing it. I think that's one of the big reasons that kids learn so fast, they want it, they have no apprehension whatsoever about what they are doing, and very importantly too, nobody tells them anything about the quality of the stuff they do, while with adults it's all to easy to get nervous about not being good, or being too good, or whatever.

I didn't capture my output all to regularly, but I filled about 18 notebooks (that's about 3000-4000 pages) + a shitload of drawings. Because I never keep anything I produce, it's hard to measure, but I think I did an additional 500 drawings on different media. My very early stuff is at: http://flipflipflop.tumblr.com/archive/2010/5 , in fact the very first picture I drew when I set out to do this. Please note that a lot of stuff that looks "good" is copied from somewhere on the internet.

I joined a local figure drawing class, but that's about all the "formal" training I got. I read about 80 books from the library though, got a lot from the internet, followed a lot of lectures from TAD, etc...

Here is stuff that I do currently: http://larvecode.tumblr.com/

The journey is super cool, and my ideas kind of seem to come together as well.

I personally didn't take formal training until several years into my drawing and even then it's wasn't great training (High school art class).

Although I'm sure it helps I personally have always found that I learn far more by just spending more time bashing my head against the wall trying to do it myself. The trick is to just do it a lot and don't ever give up. Eventually it works.

I like your new stuff, interesting style.

I agree wholeheartedly that to learn a skill and do it well you have to really want it and spend a lot of time doing it.

I really wanted to be an artist when I was 8 through about 16. I stopped drawing cold turkey and didn't keep anything I drew but I did end up drawing two things in the last twelve years (!). The lessons I took from learning how to draw were invaluable though. You can learn anything you want as long as you a) really want it; and b) bash your head against the wall long enough to achieve it.

Here are the two drawings I mentioned: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.17270830489.47657.6...

After not picking up a pencil for half a decade for the first one I was fairly happy with the result.

Good luck on your journey.

Nice ones :)

The thing that annoys me about this hacker / painter stuff is that it really boils down to: do something with passion, and you will discover unknown depths, whatever the field may be. That's pretty much where every comparison stops.

Recipe to learn a new skill:

1) get the book called "the art of XXX", written by someone who has been doing XXX for the last 60 years, and which has good typography (no shit)

2) skip the intro and first chapter, which is almost always "XXX has taught me a new way to see the world, XXX is a way of life, blablabla"

3) do the exercises that seem incredibly futile in the second chapter, and do them over and over and over and over all your career. In music, that's your scales / hitting just one note deliberately / tempo exercises (I studied jazz bass), in drawing its those shading exercises and figure drawing or just hatching that you can see the guy in the mentioned thread doing over and over (cast drawing / painting). That's stuff you still see masters doing after 60 years. They don't do the crazy fancy whizzbang stuff, they practice pretty much what the beginner has to practice on the first day. Also, it's almost always something very physical, not mind-related. My only real comparison in programming would be: "practice typing", but that only helps for the first few months I guess. After that, more like having a routine of learning new things or practicing existing data structures or so.

4) do it and do it and do it and never worry about finding your own voice or not being good enough or being better than someone else or having envy or getting frustrated. Just do it and when you don't feel like it then at least do the boring exercise stuff and then go out and enjoy the sun or something.

that's it. nothing magical to it. no silver bullet. don't buy the expensive guitar, go for the one that keeps in tune and the amp that doesn't distort. go for the ballpoint pen. you will know when the expensive tool is right when you know it's right.

> 3) do the exercises that seem incredibly futile in the second chapter, and do them over and over and over and over all your career.

I got halfway through that paragraph thinking it was crap because it didn't apply to programming, then realised that you're absolutely right.

In programming, the thing we do every day is we write tiny algorithms to do simple things. The abstractions come and go, but the simple "I need to remove a trailing slash on this string" sort of problems are (to me) the everyday practices. Everything else falls out of those little problems - the need for abstraction, the need for tools, the need for tests, the need for libraries, etc.

Imagine I offer you two applicants. They're both fresh out of collage applying for an engineering role. The first one has never heard of MVC and has never actually used TDD. But you ask him to implement a binary search on a whiteboard and he goes to town. The other one will happily explain all the details of the visitor pattern, but when you ask him to manually reverse a string in his favorite language, he can't do it.

I don't know about you, but I'd hire the first programmer in a heartbeat. Its much easier to learn design patterns when you know how to code than the other way around. Maybe its the same with shading in art, and scales in music. But, thats definitely how it works with programming.

Very impressive stuff. His work is reminiscent of some of the best stuff I see in my charcoal classes at RISD.

A very important thing worth noting is he switched from mostly digital art to completely traditional; there is just no matching with a tablet/mouse what one can do with real materials.

All of the life drawings, anatomy lessons, and lighting studies were incredibly important. He was able to easily apply these understandings to a new medium, so by the time he switched over he quickly excelled. I feel that if he'd started earlier with paint he would have blasted off once he saw the impact of his own work.

I appreciate this from a technical standpoint. It sort of shows the "man behind the curtain" of creating two dimensional visual art pieces, especially because you can see it in such a condensed format. We've all seen progressions of an artists body of work in art publications and curated shows, but what makes this rewarding is we get to see all of the early, average attempts. It's not like we could pick up a book on Picasso and see his first 2000 drawings, but if we could, we would gain the instructive aspects of watching an artist progress.

Check out his website[1] for quicker loading examples of his more recent work.


This reminds me a lot of Penny Arcade, I started reading it 10 years ago for the video game commentary but I've really enjoyed watching the quality of the writing and comics improve to such a world class level over time.

Reading that first year of Penny Arcade is night and day from the material they put out now.

This is not uncommon in comics all over the world. There are also a number of mangas exposing this evolution of the artist, two of the most flagrant ones are Kazushi Hagiwara's Bastard!! and Kentaro Miura's Berserk.

This is basically how I learned one of my great loves, composing music.

Ten years ago, I was goofing around with an old copy of Cakewalk and clumsily aping elements of cinematic soundtracks in General Midi with a keyboard at my parents' house. I just kept at it, though, observing how the pieces worked together in music I liked, developing an ear for harmony, composing lots of throwaway stuff and a few occasional good ones. Over the years, I acquired a bit of synth hardware, took a tiny bit of music in college, later moved from hardware to soft synths, picked up bits of music theory and sound engineering, and never stopped making things (at least for long). I still don't consider myself a master by any means, but I enjoy what I compose. Perhaps most importantly, it's a creative process I find incredibly rewarding, even if I'm not scoring any indie games or films.

"Nothing in this world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

The slogan 'Press On" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. ~ C Coolidge

I've read many quotes by a variety of famous people about persistence (see below). But none of them have had a tenth of the impact of seeing this artist's 9 year effort compressed in to a 17 minute slideshow. What he has achieved, how far he's had to travel, how hard he must have had to work, and how persistent he clearly was is nothing short of inspiring.


"Godlike genius.. Godlike nothing! Sticking to it is the genius! I've failed my way to success." --Thomas Edison

"What I had that others didn't was a capacity for sticking to it." -- Doris Lessing

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lives solely in my tenacity." -- Louis Pasteur

"enough shovels of earth, a mountain. enough pails of water, a river" -- chinese proverb

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." - Albert Einstein

Y'all right, only I just don't have the energy. I say. But maybe I have. You know, it sounds great to be a good painter (or musician or stuff) but then you (at least me) ends with "how is this worth the energy spend, isn't everything irrelevant in the end? why would i care? it is not relevant."

Sometimes i conclude that the only goal of being a good xyz is to be admired by others. If it wouldn't be for others then it would be for me. But, say, when i was the last man on earth, would i say "yeah, 40 years of painting every day.. i'm good now, that was worth it"... Would I?

Working on my skills just to get better would lead me to the (maybe right) feeling that I am better than others, making me looking down on others. I really don't want end up looking down to others (and envy those who are better than me). Can someone understand me?

I read the forum that the artist was really frustrated often. I know that. Is everything really worth the hassle? :/

Interestingly, he's pretty close to (but still under) the ten year mark for getting mastery that Peter Norvig wrote about in an essay about mastering programming. (http://norvig.com/21-days.html).

(This was before the rule changed to 10,000 hours.) It could be interesting for someone more knowledgable about art to indicate at what point he hit 'mastery' (assuming that has already happened) and to then estimate how many hours it took him to get there.

From my standpoint looking at his current work, he's definitely at mastery.

Maybe compared to your personal skills, but do you really think he is a master painter now? Not to criticize his work in any way, but I was always under the impression mastering a fine art was essentially a life's work.

If you want to be completely pedantic about it, a master craftsmen is simply a person who has created, and successfully defended, a masterpiece (basically the medieval craft/trade-guild equivalent to a, well, Master's thesis.) This happened pretty early in life (you didn't enter a guild in full good standing until you became a master), so an arbitrarily-selected "master" wouldn't be nearly as experienced/talented as the few that come to mind when you think of the term.

You're right. He could be on his way to such a level but definitely has not reached it yet.

He's good, but he's no Renoir, Da Vinci, or Degas.

Deliberate practice can bring that number way down.

That's the number for deliberate practice.

In other words, every hour of deliberate practice brings the number down exactly one hour.


Your mastery of language to articulate your point has brought me to a new level of understanding.

My reply to you is "yes." Additionally, I'd like to point out that indeed every hour of deliberate practice does reduce the amount suggested by one hour. Unless you have mastered manipulation of space-time, of course.

The OP mentioned two numbers: 10 years and 10,000 hours.

I think alnayyir is trying to say that deliberate practice can bring down the 10 year number (which I agree with and is why the rule switched from saying 10 years to saying 10,000 hours) and michael_dorfman is interpreting that statement to be referring to the 10,000 hours number.

My point in the OP was to show that by having a large amount of data, this provides a nice example for understanding why the rule was changed. (But for it to be a good example, it would require someone knowledgeable about art to look over his prior works and pinpoint when exactly he became a 'master' (although this may be a hard thing to do) and to then estimate how many hours of practice was spent to get there.)

Comments like these make me feel that this place is turning into Reddit as it becomes more popular. It's sad.

Back on topic, the ten thousand hours is supposed to be deliberate practice to achieve mastery. One good source for this is Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers.

He REALLY started improving when he started taking those figure drawing classes... You could noodle away aimlessly for 50 years and still be mediocre. Figure drawing basically forced him to teach himself how to teach himself to draw.

This is so immensely interesting and useful what the guy documented here... and thanks to Mark Erdmann, it's perfectly illustrated.

What you really see here is not just "his progress" but how he actually did it:

* He went back to the classics (greek statues, classic poses, perspective etc) to really learn the ropes

* he practiced over and over again, often the same subject again and again

* even if his taste seems to lie with those scifi/fantasy-style figures, he nevertheless trained to sketch poses, the human body, faces, muscles and so on

* his strokes become more confident year by year

* he needs less strokes on a sketch to make the viewer see something recognizable

* he judges his work repeatedly

* he lived with being a beginner for quite some time but didn't give up

If some of you might remember Douglas Crockford's JavaScript lessons series - he stressed the "knowing the history" quite a lot - quite similar to many "how to become a great developer" howtos stress to know a language like Lisp. (Basically our version of "learning the classics"...)

The same applies btw for what writers documented about their progress and journey to become good writers: "know the classics" and "do it every day".

For the folks interested in the science side of "becoming an expert", please consider Ericsson's "Expert Performance" (Cambridge University Press) - that's the source/foundation of the notion of "a decade" and the "10000 hours of deliberate practice" comes from. (And a very interesting read...)

Can someone convert this into a readable format?

The image hosting appears to be spotty, it's on a message board, it's paginated, the dates are unclear, there are now hundreds of comments congratulating the guy, etc. etc. etc.

TL;DR Guy is impressed by painters (and it sounded like a family member that was a painter too) so without any kind of art training he decided he wanted to learn the craft. He decided to make one new piece of art per day, and sometimes 2 per day on weekends. If you look at his first few pages of posts you see the 3d cube drawings he started with while he learned how to sketch and whatnot, and then skip to like page 50 which is years and years later you will see these masterful portraits of his wife, jugs of wine and grapes, all kinds of stuff. Apparently now he is a fulltime artist and doing the best he's ever done despite the economic climate.

Also, you might want to disable flash on this forum it's posted on. Flashblock chrome extension is nice to have in this kind of situation.

Here's a post that encapsulates his progress http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showpost.php?p=1789531&...

Pretty impressive. Just keeps pounding the 10,000 hrs rule into my head. I need to make a program a day for 9 years.

Instead of making a program a day for 9 years, you're better off adding a feature a day to an existing program for 9 years.

There's a limit to how good you can get when the scale of what you've done consists entirely of programs you can accomplish in a day. To get beyond that, you need to work on stuff that's bigger - programs that take years to build, and that take hundreds of engineers, and that explore every nook and cranny of their problem domain.

In the process, you learn about managing large codebases, and refactoring, and scaling, and minimizing complexity, and deleting code, and tons of algorithms and data structures and problem-solving approaches, and communicating with a team, and being patient, and carrying on when you're not sure what the end product you're building will look like or if it'll be any good, and all sorts of other skills. You don't get that by practicing textbook algorithms and language syntax for 10 years.

Indeed. It's all too easy (for me) to fall off the horse and all too hard to get back on.

http://calendaraboutnothing.com/ is a neat tool for staying motivated

There are internal and external roadblocks when trying to learn a new skill as an adult and sadly both become reinforcing. Externally I think there's a lot of cynicism from other people wondering why you are bothering trying to learn something new as an adult. They doubt that you can do it for various reasons including the favorite that you're too old to learn and that you must have started when you were five because the brain is so ripe.

But I always thought that belief was illogical, especially if you believe learning itself is an actual skill. If learning is a skill as much as say drawing, then you should only become better at trying new things as you get older.


I had to look that up. Turns out it's French for "artist workshop". [0] Why not just use the plain English equivalent? But that's not what was interesting. Digging around I noticed http://www.classicalartonline.com Did everyone miss this?

Making a dollar in art is difficult. It's so difficult that markets exist to make art to order, to solve some problem. Usually selling a product. Advertising. This really isn't art but design. Fine art doesn't solve any problem other than the artists own. As a result, fine art can be an acquired taste and difficult to sell. So how would you go about making a business online with fine art? That was an idea pg had and became "The Artix Phase" [1] before Viaweb. Art galleries online. At the time the idea didn't work.

That's what makes "classical art online" interesting. Learning art online would be difficult though. A lot of the learning happens as a tutor looks over your shoulder, sees the result & makes suggestions in technique, subject and a multitude of other related tasks that make up the craft. The learning happens in the dynamic of pupil, tutor. It's personal and I don't know how you make this process scale without a tutors presence.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atelier

[1] http://www.paulgraham.com/bronze.html

But atelier is already a perfect valid English word. Sure, it came from French, but it is now part of English language. Complaining about it would be like complaining that word 'Robot' is a Czech word for work/worker.

"... Display of superior knowledge is as great a vulgarity as display of superior wealth — greater indeed, inasmuch as knowledge should tend more definitely than wealth towards discretion and good manners. ..." [0]

Perfectly valid Adam, but clearer if you use a simpler non-romantic, common use replacement. The objective is to communicate, not impress.

[0] Fowler, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Dictionary_of_Modern_English_...

I think the flawed assumption you're making here is that because the word is new to you the motivation behind the author using it is to impress. It's entirely possible that this is a word well known and in standard usage within the original target audience (which is not us)

"... It's entirely possible that this is a word well known and in standard usage within the original target audience (which is not us) ..."

'Us', isn't 'me' who does come from a fine/technical art background.

The distinction is subtle. If the writer means train artists with zeal then 'Atelier Method' would be the correct term but Atelier as a place to work? I would have thought "studio" would have been a better choice, derived from Italian, "studio" and Latin, "studium" (and "studere", to "study" & "zeal"). Note the French derivation, Atelier also translates to studio of "fashion designer" and "alchemist" or "wizard". This use is old and not used much.

He mentioned getting a Wacom Intuos tablet. I've been considering getting one, or maybe this new device:


This video turned me on to the Wacom:


He discusses tablets at about the 2m mark.

If you want to draw, buy a Wacom — even a cheap one. All the other are really crappy device that will make you miserable — and then, they will not last. If it's to learn to draw, don't bother with a tablet : take a pencil, and draw !

I've used a Wacom for about 7 years now. An A4 Intuos 2... and I've only just realised my tablet is that old.

I remember it took about 40 minutes to get used to. Now, I use it all the time, for everything, not just design or illustration. Using a mouse for anything is painfully slow. Trackpads are better, but for speed and accuracy, nothing beats a tablet.

If you just want to give stuff a try, go look for a used Graphire (kinda hard to find now), or a used Bamboo. You can usually grab a decent (8x6) sized one for like 50-80 bucks on craigslist.

Loosing the title sensitivity, and some of the pressure precision is no loss if you're just starting out and not attempting really hardcore painting/airbrushing.

It seems that the Inkling tablet can be only used to transfer pictures you draw on it to computer. If that's true that leaves out working in graphics editing software, which is a quite big limitation. If you only want to get drawing to computer a scanner might be a better choice. And it won't limit your choice of drawing tools.

If you're just getting started and don't need any professional features that the Wacom might have, consider Monoprice's line of tablets:


They cost a small fraction of a comparable Wacom tablet.

Can it be used as a mouse in Win7 and does it even work with Ubuntu? Cannot seem to find the info..

So inspiring... and... I want to cry when I look at what I've done with the last nine years. Tagged with "inspiration" in delicious

I found the detail on this face: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showpost.php?p=2660638&... to be really good. If you go to later posts you can see how the painting evolves.

His wife here, painted in a similar style (2 hours): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIP_ACdivFQ

Its great to see this person's progression! He is obviously very talented and has a real gift.

I went through a similar progression as a child. My mother worked as an art teacher at the local YMCA while I was growing up. After school each day I would take the bus to the Y and sit in on her art classes. I became a pretty proficient artist -- technically speaking anyway -- but I never really developed into what I would call a creative artist.

I just didn't have that "gift." My brother did (and does) however. The lesson I learned is that anyone can learn to draw and be able to reproduce what they see fairly well (it is really just techniques) but to actually create takes something beyond technical skills. You have to have a vision and courage to express it. MindCandyMan has it.

"Its great to see this person's progression! He is obviously very talented and has a real gift. ... I just didn't have that 'gift.'"

I very much doubt that anyone looking at this guy's early drawings/paintings would say he had any kind of artistic "gift".

For me, the great lesson of looking at his progress is that it's a result of dedication, persistence, and hard work.

As an artist, it's incredibly frustrating for me to hear non-artists tell me how they "just can't draw" or "don't have the talent" and therefore won't even bother to try.

You can do it! But you have to want it enough to walk the long, difficult road.

"anyone can learn to draw and be able to reproduce what they see fairly well (it is really just techniques) but to actually create takes something beyond technical skills. You have to have a vision and courage to express it. MindCandyMan has it."

It's true that his later art especially shows a certain vision that goes beyond mere technical skill. He is fortunate to have managed to tap in to it, as not everyone does. However, I do believe that some sort of artistic vision is latently present in most everyone. But you have to strive to discover and express it over many years of hard effort. It's not something that's handed to anyone on a silver platter.

Oh, gnosis, I just read this comment of yours.

I believe you are right and it's all about "dedication, persistence, and hard work", as you very well sum it up.

Maybe I'm looking a bit whiny overall, but as you see from my other two comments on this news, I did not found a reason for walking the long, difficult road.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that, as you say, i can do it (especially as I fortunately have good starting conditions, always having enough money for food etc) but why? How do all these people (you may be included as far as I see), get their, "power" focused?

Why are you for example painting and not for example dedicating your life to the poor? There are so many things to dedicate your life to. I could be a judoka, painter, musician, father, researcher at university, owner of my own little "internet business"... But not everything parallel. I tried that a bit (Okay, I just started. I didn't went so far to actually be a father... But none of the other things either, as you may have expected). Alone the many different "peer groups" would be kind of giving me that feeling that I cannot "take a break" and thus am not free. Or so.

Alas, I guess this is not a counseling board, and I will shut up for now. Maybe some day I will have figured out what is really important to me. Hopefully before I'm old, gray and sitting in a wheelchair.

Being not gifted are an excuse to not do something. MindCandyMan was not good at the beginning, but he stick with it. I've seen him struggle, but never loosing is focus : draw. He's doing the hard work everyday. He has the courage to do it.

I didn't mean to give an excuse not to try. What I didn't articulate is that I got to a point (after many years) where I recognized my limitations. My brother and I would draw the same subject and mine would be an accurate representation (and certainly nothing to be ashamed of) but my brothers would always carry an interesting twist to his.

I don't have that same vision and that's OK. I don't have the physical size to be a football linebacker either. Not everyone can be Picasso but that isn't an excuse for not trying.

Learning to come up with "original" ideas is a skill too. It can be practiced and exercised.

For instance... Wrote down ten adjectives, ten nouns, and ten verbs. Roll a d10 thrice. Then draw whatever that corresponds to. Like a "robot hamster farming". Then do a few more rolls.

There are many other exercises for your creativity; this is just what comes to mind at 3am after a long day.

Even at the start, he was drawing significantly better than I can--but he actually did put in the 10,000 hours of focused practice (with feedback from a forum-full of artists to focus him) so I don't think you can attribute it all to native talent.

It certainly isn't all native talent. He does have a gift though, but, as with all gifts, you need to develop it.

His initial drawing are much, much better than anything I could currently muster.

Have you tried? I used to draw, a lot. As much as this guy but I was a lot younger. People often told me the same thing "I couldn't even draw a cup that looks like a cup!" Sometimes I'd get them to try and if they were a little bit patient they drew something that looked a lot like the first drawing of that mug (Usually not including the shading).

I'm fairly confident that most people could draw that first mug if they really wanted to. The drawings 30 pages in though, that takes much more skill and patience. And it takes a long time to learn it.

I'm fairly confident most people could do most things if they really wanted to, but it seems like most people don't. This is partially a function of time—no one has the time to do everything in the world—but I do wonder about the people who seemingly don't do anything well, or who don't believe they can do anything well. It often seems like they haven't really tried.

A human lifetime is obviously too short to learn to do everything well.

But many people waste a lot of the time they do have in their life -- playing mindless games, reading/watching absolute trash, surfing the web or any number of other absolutely useless activities.

It's very difficult to really dedicate yourself to getting better even at a single skill over many long years. There are always distractions and a lot of boredom and self-criticism to overcome. It's painful and hard, and many people just don't have the willpower to do it.

No, I haven't really tried (because I'm not interested in it). I realize now that this guy probably practiced a lot before the initial posts on that forum thread, but I was just pointing out that his initial attempts are always significantly better than what my initial attempts would be.

But that's what I was suggesting, if a person really wants to try doing it I'm confident they could draw that first mug with no initial practice.

Obtaining the rest is just time and passion.

Wow, now that I think about it, I haven't committed 9 years to anything remotely productive yet.

Coming on 5 years with electronics, programming, and guitar/music (started all of these in college!). The electronics and programming are part of my job(s) but I'm at least happy to be pursuing music purely out of my own interest and doing it nearly every day. Would be interesting to see how I've progressed in these fields in another 4 years or so...

For those who keep mentioning the 10,000 hour rule, I wonder if anyone has heard of any tools for tracking this number? As in, a tool for logging hours spent practicing different subject areas with the specific goal of reaching 10,000 hours. I wonder, too, if you could quantify smaller subsets of the 10,000 to provide more immediate feedback and goals along the way.

I've been looking for that thread for a long time. I remember seeing it a few years ago when I was getting into drawing myself. But I sort of got lost along the way. Ended up spending more time on coding than drawing. I guess one can only focus on so much. But it's still definitely something I want to get into.

The lesson I'm taking from this is be ok with slow progress and early failures. The trap I fall into is being discouraged too easily and giving up. What this guy has done is the opposite. He just kept going and got good.

read on page 5 or so that he was 22 when he started. i'm 22, too. shit i will really stop wasting time with pc games and stuff.

time is the fire in which we burn...

edit: of course this are just my thoughts right now. i suppose i won't have the persistence

Definitely Inspiring!!

someone should do the same with programming

I went from 0 knowledge of Python to what I feel is quite a good handle by working on Project Euler nearly every day for just over a year now. Highly recommended!

I suppose if you work full-time as a developer, you could figure out how many days you've worked and multiply it by the typical number of hours you program per day.

However, part of this is you need to deliberately trying to get better, so that should be taken into account. Also your knowledge of the overall system architecture, if you are working on a complicated project such as an OS, can be as important as your coding ability to get things done.


Absolutely fascinating, and inspiring me to get out the sketch pad I've had laying around for years...

This is exactly why i come to HN for. Stay classy HN

How is this relevant to HN?

Well, we all know it takes 10,000 hours of conscious practice to become an expert.

And if you buy the Hackers & Painters analogy, you'll see programming, marketing, bizdev, etc as arts.

It can be hard to observe improvement in these areas; however in the link it's very easy to track the author's improvement.

It's a quite visceral manifestation of improvement - you see the results of daily practice at a glance. It's a reminder to practice, to be better.

I need to build a bot that detects and replies to these comments:

"Because n people voted it so.

'On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups.'"

+1, and Honestly this is much more in topic for hackers than "how to avoid to get gamed by your VC in ten rules".

Wait, there's more to hacking than funding and getting acquired?

hacking has nothing to do with money. It is a side effect that a few hackers will get rich. May will just contribute a lot of interesting things for a normal salary, possibly doing this great things in their free time.

Agreed. Especially because these replies so seldom make an argument: they rarely say, "this shouldn't be on Hacker News for well-considered reasons x, y, and z." They (usually) just make assumptions about what should or shouldn't be on HN.

Hackers and Painters, by Paul Graham: http://www.paulgraham.com/hp.html

He's hacking himself... with documentation.

Wow, talk about missing the point...

Hackers are like painters, didn't you get the memo.

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