Are you asking the wrong question?

This is a YouTube video I uploaded a few weeks ago. I thought to share it here as well in case you missed it. If you don’t feel like watching video. I also have the transcript typed out for you. =)


I’ve seen so many of these questions floating around the internet. And quite a few people asked me those questions as well. But quite honestly, they are often the wrong question to ask. Some of the most popular YouTube videos about watercolor is about these two topics: Materials, and Techniques. So questions like "What brand of paper, paint, and brushes do I use? What’s the size of the papers and brushes? What colors of paint do I use?" and so on. And the technical questions are usually about "How do you do wet on wet, wet on dry, making washes, how do you mix certain colors".. and so on. Now, don’t get me wrong. These questions are legit and it is great to know. But quite often, they are the wrong questions to ask. Notice, I said “wrong questions” not “bad questions” Why do people ask questions? Because there’s a problem to solve. But if you ask a good question at the wrong time, it’s not going to solve your problem. Therefore it is a wrong question to ask.

Knowing all the materials and techniques won’t make you a great artist. Especially if you want to paint and create a believable painting that’s based on reality.  I have some great photographer friends who took amazing photos just with their phone or their point-n-shoot cameras. Yet they always got questions like “What camera are you using? What setting? What program did you use to edit the photo?”. And when my friends told them that “oh I shoot it with my phone.. and with a free simple app for editing.”, they were disappointed. That kind of made me wonder what do they expect to hear when they asked those questions? I am sure some people who ask genuinely want to learn to become a better photographer. But I’ll wager that many people who ask those questions are looking for a magic bullet that will instantly improve and transform their art. Or they are expecting to hear that my friends are using thousand dollar cameras with expensive programs so they can have an excuse about their own photos did not look as good as theirs because they can’t afford the same level of equipment. They thought knowing the exact setting can make their photo looks amazing. However, it’ll be very unlikely that they will instantly become a great photographer by just having expensive camera gears.

 The same thing goes for watercolor, some people are looking for that magic bullet that’ll instantly make their paintings look better. They think if they just get the same brand of paper, brushes, and paint. Or if they just learn that one trick, it can make their painting look like the masters’. And while having good material and technique can give you an easier time painting and can give you more enjoyment at times, it’s not going to make you a better artist. The masters are not who they are because of the materials they use, but the time they put in to learn, practice and honing their craft, as well as having a keen eye and sharp mind to have a good vision for their paintings. Learning the right technique is important, but if you don’t know when and how to use those techniques, they are useless. Learning how to mix a specific color is nice, but a great painting will still look great if change it’s the color or just make it black and white. So you know it’s not it.

 I understand this can be hard to take in, but actually, I want you to feel encouraged and empowered. Because now you know that to a good artist is not made by some external factor or some magic, legendary tools. But it’s you! You are the one who can turn yourself into a better painter! All the materials are and just the extension of you. This doesn’t mean you go cheap on your painting materials. If you are serious about painting then you should definitely get good tools for that. But what I’m trying to say is that in order to really make the most out of the tool, we need to work on improving our artistic core. In my next post, I’m going to share some ways that can help you to become a better artist for FREE!! You don’t need expensive material or learn a special technique to do them. It is a very important topic that I don’t see a lot of artists talk about, and I don’t want you to miss out.