I am so far down this Vincent van Gogh rabbit hole now. I have read many books in the week off I just had. All of them on his life and I also rinsed the hell out of Youtube for learning more on Mr V. van Gogh. It has informed my post today. I wanted to talk about today was how he learned to be a great artist.
I said in a previous post ,Vincent did not pick up a brush til til he was 27, I learn now that is less true. Once you commit yourself to scholarly work on a subject you have to set aside the myth and common preconceptions in favour of something resembling the truth as much as it can ever be captured. Primary source information such as his wonderful letters collection suggest he was dabbling in art his whole life.
It is true however that he did not decide to be serious til he was 27 and he died at 37 so that was still an incredible growth span from starting to genius. Anyway, I tend to wander so focus NCS!
In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.”Vincent Van Gogh
The method he employed is so simple it almost seems like cheating, but you must not see it that way. It is a method that you can employ and not just for art, for anything.
Vincent van Gogh was a man of drive, and a man of method. He was an intense person who wanted to be as good as he can be. He had to learn and fast as he was behind the greats who had been painting since they were children and in academies many of them taought bey great artists.
So how did he become great? copying. Vincent copied and copied and copied. By copying the works of artists he got better himself. He would copy every drawing in handbooks and then do them again and again until he felt his hand was more assured and confident in the strokes.
He would pick the work of his favourite artists and use the subject to copy over and over again.
“It’s not copying pure and simple that one would be doing. It is rather translating into another language, the one of colors.”Vincent in a letter to Theo
If you want to learn to draw, paint, write or present better then just copy those you admire and slowly as you practice their content, you begin to add your own aspects which make you, YOU. It is a sure fire way of being better and learning from those who maybe even don’t want to teach you.
by the way, Don’t feel bad either, when you look at any great piece of work and really study it. You will see that it is copied itself from generations before. Sitting at a blank page hoping for greatness is foolish. Copy your way to success and in the act you will find your style and develop a signature of your very own that someday a person may copy.