Bridge Your Skill Gap To Your Taste – How All Artists Struggle

Bridge the gap between your skill and your taste. All artists struggle with a disconnect between their great taste and their skills in their ability to create a piece of art that they have imagined. We fall short as we work on our art. Our expectation is to create art that resembles the quality that we admire.

Have you been struggling to get your work recognised? Are there days when you look at the piece of art you just created and think “that’s just not good enough!” Don’t worry. It’s a pattern everyone goes through. It takes plenty of practice to reach that place you are longing to be. Yes, you do have that special talent and the days of doubt should not make you want to give up.

Here are 6 tips to help you close your skill gap:

1. Skill gap analysis

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? This is the first place to start. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you fix your skill gap in a positive manner. A good way to do this is to look back at work you’ve done in the past. Never throw your work away, no matter how bad it looks to you. Each piece is unique and will throw light on what you may have missed, what you can improve and where you are headed.

Girl writing a skill gap analysis.

2. Update your skill set

Although your ability to use your imagination to create beautiful, breathtaking art is your biggest gift, it is absolutely essential to learn new skills. Try new media and explore new ways of presenting your art. Dedicating time and effort to learn new skills to hone your talent can be a daunting prospect but try and dedicate a small portion of your creative time to research new material and methods. Adaptability is the keyword in a changing world.

Artist learning a new skill on lettering design.

3. Study artists you admire

Does the work of your favourite artists make you feel like you never want to touch a pencil or a tube of paint again? I’ve had several days when all I do is wonder if I’ll ever be good enough. But responding to your emotional side is a good thing. People don’t respond to good art because of a pristine drawing or amazing colour. They respond to the emotions a piece of art can invoke in a person. So what is it that ‘good’ artists offer? Study artists that make you want to be creative to see what it is that attracts you to them.

Art students studying artists at a gallery.

4. Gain that experience

Time is your best friend. Every minute that you spend practising your art skills is an investment in the present and the future. Try not to worry if you think you are not good enough today. Patience with yourself and your art will pay off in the long run. So set aside the time that you need. Set up a workspace that inspires you and is away from distractions. Bring the things that calm you – a plant, a photo frame of your loved ones, posters that remind you of wonderful times – to this space. And create

Sand clock taking time.

5. Bridge your taste gap

All artists – and writers and creators of any kind – start with an incredible gift, that is, taste for something they want to do. Unfortunately, creating that thing that you see in your mind’s eye is another thing. When you put it down on paper or canvas (or clay or wood), it rarely looks like that image in your mind – at least the first few times. This, like learning to develop a palate and then curating those flavours for tasting wine, takes a few tries – sometimes several tries – before that image you create starts to look like the image in your mind. This is called your taste gap. But, as every great artist knows, if you don’t give up, one day you will look at your work and say, “wow, that’s what I meant!”

Artist working on a digital pad drawing.

“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.”

– Ira Glass

6. Learn how to sell yourself

Many artists who create wonderful work never become famous or even get known. It’s not because they were not good enough. It’s more because they were too shy to get their work out there where people could look, comment, critique, and perhaps buy. A very important factor in any field of work or art is the ability to sell yourself. Risking how we might feel if someone doesn’t like our work pays because we will then be able to find the people who do like our work and help us grow and develop further. So go out there and take that chance!

What are your best methods to bridge the gap between your taste and your skill? Drop a comment below and share it with others.

Man on speaker selling their artwork.

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Featured image – Coffee photo created by wayhomestudio –

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