March 28, 2021•425 words
Reading time: 2-3 min
Practice is the best way to learn. I propose the following to be an excellent way to pick up a particular skill and enjoy it along the way.
First, determine what skill you would like to learn.
Then, come up with a relatively simple project to work on.
Using various resources such as videos, guides, books etc., work on the project until completion.
Through this method:
- We can rapidly become sufficiently proficient at something, to the point of being able to work on a side project on our own.
- The chosen project will help you identify what specific parts of the skill you have to learn and develop to become proficient at the skill as a whole.
- The project will motivate you to complete it.
- You will have a product to show for your efforts.
If the project, after some hours, you realize is far too difficult and time-consuming, scale it down.
How I learned how to use Photoshop
I picked up Photoshop and sketches this way some years ago. I picked a particular project to do: to create a 'cover art' of sorts to help showcase another project of mine. The steps required to complete the project guided my learning objectives. Through searching for tutorials on the specific step I had to complete, I gained the necessary competency to complete the entire project, and most of the skills are transferable to future projects. The project also offered significant motivation for me to learn the skill (as I really wanted to have the product and for me to be able to do it again in the future).
Some extra reading
Josh Kaufman notes that it takes 20 hours to go from complete beginner to becoming reasonably good at something.
The “10,000 hours” requirement noted by Malcolm Gladwell is the time required to become top expert-level at a skill.
The time required for me to complete the project was probably comparable to the “20 hours” noted by Kaufman.
I came across this piece in my folders a week ago. (Ah, the beauty of random re-discovery. So much delight I experienced when I saw this.) Apparently, I made it in April 2020. It was originally a study for digital sketches, and the project was to create a sketch with the theme of space. Practice with projects and you will go far. Bonus is that this was quite fun to do.
Stars. Digital medium, pencil and paint on black paper.