It's easy to fall into pits along your artistic journey. When it comes to skills, the pitfall that can get artists anywhere from their novice to artisan stage is not honing the hard skills.
Remember, hard skills are about the ABCs of learning — always being consistent. They are skills that require repeatable precision, which means you'll need to run that same race over, and over, and over again (exactly the same), while soft skills don't require you to be accurate and precise in your movements. It's okay to make mistakes because it is more of a trial-and-error process as you wire your brain to read, recognize, and react to the situation. Pattern recognition is the name of the game. You need to be in the situation and do the action you're wanting to become more skilled at over, and over, and over again.
In most talents, hard and soft skills actually work together to create the desired outcome, but hard skills set the actual foundation. Ever heard musicians play the same scales they learned in their beginner classes before a concert? It doesn't matter how long you do a skilled profession. Those repetitions of the original hard skills solidify your foundation.
That's why we focus heavily in Beyond the Brushes on developing the hard skills first! You have to learn HOW to use the tools BEFORE you can learn WHEN to use the tools. Otherwise, it would be like expecting an oak tree to be just as sturdy and tall with only its branches. That would be utterly silly! It needs its roots and trunk, and those are the hard skills for any skilled profession.
That's why we don't pass artists until they have honed their hard skills, and that's why individualized feedback is so important. Then, as you work through the stages in Beyond the Brushes, we return to those original skills at each one to redo and reincorporate them. I can't tell you how many want to skip the fundamentals and just go on to being an "artist." Well, that doesn't happen overnight. The more honed your hard skills, the better artist you'll be.
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