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Is My Child a Good Artist?

Updated: Dec 5, 2023


An untitled acrylic painting by Emily White Tousley


Let's talk about what it means to be "talented".


When I first started teaching art lessons, I ran into parents who would say things like, "Well, she isn't very good, but she loves to draw." Of course, these parents were well-meaning, but from an artist's point of view, all that I thought was, "Great! That's all she needs!" Mind you, that child was six years old. Of course, she wasn't good at drawing in the sense of creating a faithful rendering, but that's because she was six years old! Her brain was still fine-tuning the motor functions needed to draw what she wanted to draw. But did she have talent? Well, she had a six-year-old's passion and wealth of ideas, so I would say she certainly did.


Then what does it take to be a good artist?


Some artists argue that what is even more important than skills, such as rendering or color theory, is the subject matter of the art. Developing subject matter is how an artist creates their voice, and it's the "so what?" aspect of art. Developing a voice is a lifelong process, and practice is also critical. You have to engage with making art to figure out what you want to say as an artist. However, another huge part of fine-tuning your artistic voice is being around other artists. Nothing great is made in a vacuum. There's a reason why we have great artistic movements that involve countless artists collaborating and creating. That is why I think taking a class is hugely beneficial to any prospective artist.



An untitled acrylic painting by Emily White Tousley


What if my child is just a beginner and they just want to try it out?


There's no need to be intimidated! Creative skills benefit everyone, and all kids should get to practice and hone their creativity. These classes are not just for kids who will keep painting and drawing for the rest of their lives. These are for anyone looking to practice innovation and learn more about art. There is an artist inside of everyone. If you look at the diverse range of contemporary artists working today, you will find all kinds of people applying their creativity in unique and innovative ways. The world needs more artists! And it is a privilege that I get to work with kids and play a small role in helping them along the way.

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A wonderful essay. Obviously, Emily knows what she is doing and has a gift as an artist and a teacher. I wish my children were still young enough to be blessed with her attitude, values, and sheer talent. (I've been an artist for many years and taught art at universities and museums, etc.). James Cobb, artist

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