Does one need to be a natural born artist to be an adequate web designer? Well, it probably helps, but for those like me not gifted in an artistic sense there is still much worth striving for.

Consider the drafts of Montaigne: they bristle with the prolonged torture of corrections, additions and alterations; endless careful detailed polishing that makes one realise the cliched schoolmaster’s advice of 10% inspiration 90% perspiration holds true even in the rarefied air of innate talent. Or look at Raphael’s drawings after he has studied the masters and learnt to do perspective. They may look like the effortless strokes born of raw talent alone, but with the context of his earlier drawings I think one could attribute the improvement mainly to years of diligent mimicry, a painstaking transfer of skills by proxy if you like. How prosaic and disappointing to imagine these elite creatures having to stoop to practice in order to make their work seem effortless! (Meanwhile the world is probably awash with lazy geniuses who have come to nothing because they expected their talent to somehow allow circumvention of the work required to bring it to fruition).

Sure, not every web designer will be a Van Damme but you’d be surprised how far graft can take one. To deny an aspirant the chance of success because he’s not “built correctly” from birth is to deny the immense and constantly surprising power of humans to learn and adapt. The obvious can become signficant with practice, though yes to the innately talented it will of probably come more easily and to a larger degree. Even if it doesn’t, there is hope for all those who are prepared to devote time to getting the details right, honing practical skills on the field of experience and slowly piecing things together, just as there is room for a skilled joiner to work alongside a cabinet maker. Indeed the lazy cabinet maker may have to watch out that he is not replaced.

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