Thursday, January 3, 2013

There Is No Spoon (Become a Better Artist Part 2)

This week I'm recommending:

Military History: The Definitive Visual Guide to the Objects of Warfare

This book is chock full of military reference material from the very beginning of history. I saw this at the bookstore and started to drool. You'd have to be brain-dead not to be inspired by all the amazing bits of information and beautiful pictures in here. Check it out.

(This article is based on a previous post Become a Better Artist Overnight, Which I recommend you read first. So, let's continue shall we?)

Just to recap, I started my process on how to effectively learn with 1. Admit you don't know everything, and 2. Realize you don't know what you don't know. They are both along the same lines but different in ways I hope to illuminate. 

Admit you don't know everything (Oh the Humanity!)

First, take a breath. When you enter a situation where there is something to be learned, often the biggest road block your ego. "I already know this," should be a phrase only muttered amongst friends, because when you approach situations with this kind of attitude, basically -

- You turn off your ability to listen (or at least make it harder for you to take in new data)
- You essentially believe you have mastered the technique, and therefor don't need training.  Defeating any chance of your improvement.
- You essentially are claiming to be some sort of telepath or pre-cog.  How do you know you know this already? You haven't gone through the lesson yet and there might be something you're missing.

Essentially, the best way to approach any type of education is to understand that you don't know what this lesson has to offer until you take it to the end (i.e. Stop trying to show off and learn to listen). Who knows, you might be doing it wrong. Learning more things can only bring me closer to mastering my craft, so why not?
Realize you don't know what you don't know
(I've made a huge mistake)

When you box yourself in, you may think you know what's outside, but in fact you've only left yourself in the dark.

Once you have reached a point where you're receptive to new things, it's now time to put your mind on alert. You're here to learn, and this most likely stems from the deep understanding that you need to improve. And it's likely you don't quite know what you need to improve (hence the title). 

Realizing you don't know what you don't know, is not just a fact but an attitude. I've always believed you can learn anything from anyone, even if they aren't as skilled as you (or even do what you do). This comes from the understanding that we all walk different paths and couldn't possibly learn all the same things. Everyone may have something vital to offer. Don't shut your mind off because of the source, be aware at all times that there are things that you don't know floating around out there. It's up to you to be ready to catch them.


I do understand that this can be hard for people to grasp at first. I've trained may people and this is one of the hardest concepts to get through, because it's a matter of defeating a bad habit. If you actively think this way throughout the day it becomes much easier to do. Amazing things start to happen when you put down the ego and start to learn with a humble attitude.

Or, I'm completely wrong and you actually do know everything. Which all I can say is... good luck with that.

These two pieces were commissioned by Robert Iannone For his Flying Girl series


  1. Typos : lessen - lesson
    Robert lannone For His*

    1. Thanks for catching those. I'm no good at that kinda stuff. It's almost like I need an editor.