Talent vs. Skill

Often Jake and I have adamantly discussed talent vs. skill. His whole life, he has heard how “talented” he is, and when he brushes it off, people think he’s being humble, or shy. One day, I asked him about it, and he said to me that he didn’t think he was talented. I immediently rolled my eyes. Anyone who knows Jake knows his work and having known him for almost half my life time, I’ve seen his art work. Well, I can’t hide my eye rolls well, so he immediately took offense. “When people say how talented I am, they don’t take into consideration the insane amount of hours I spend drawing. As a kid, I was always drawing. In school, to keep me from falling asleep and to help me pay attention I would draw in every class, study hall, and after school. I would stay up late drawing. If anyone took any skill, drawing, music, a sport, whatever and practice it as much as I did, they’d probably have talent too.” Oh. That was a good point. But that’s not talent, that’s a skill. What about the person who could learn 5 or 6 musical instruments before they turned 18? Or that person that knows 12 different languages? We debated some more, and agreed that talent is only one part of the equation, and that honed skill can pass raw talent if that talent is ignored.

Why am I rambling on about this? When we first started having friends and family try out our game Doodle Mash, the first thing out of their mouths was, “I can’t draw, I’m a terrible artist, I can only draw stick people!” Me too friends, me too. I know what it’s like to feel a little embarrassed about what you draw, maybe more so because I’m tethered to someone who’s ability is literally plastered all over our walls.

But guess what? You can be terrible at drawing and two things can happen. First, you can still have fun with it. Bad drawings can be hilarious if you can learn to laugh at yourself, and when you’re with others that can also laugh at themselves, you find yourself in a joyful setting where having fun is what is important. Second, you can get better. Does this mean you’ll be the next Rembrandt? Probably not, but your monkey might start to look less like a bear and more like a monkey.

As mentioned in our “About” tab on the website, Doodle Mash started as a drawing exercise for Jake. As a custom tattoo artist, a client will often bring him three or four ideas to turn into one piece. Being a small business owner, work often makes its way home after hours, and Jake would do a drawing exercise before or after work. It was simple, combine as many imagines together into one before the timer goes off. Our son is one of the kids that’s wants to do everything everyone else does, so of course, he wanted to draw with Dad. Jake started with easily recognizable animals to make the exercise ¬†entertaining for a three year old. They had some much fun doing it, they begged me to join them. Soon, the concept of Doodle Mash was born.

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