I was told the other day that research has shown that to become an expert at a skill you have to spend 10,000 hours dedicated to mastering that skill. This research was applied to world class athletes, but I would say it applies to Sketching as well. I would imagine that many of the world class sketchers that are on this site have put in close to that amount of time.
So, those of you wanting to master sketching, here’s a quick guide to how much time you need to spend before you’re “an expert”:
10,000 = 250 wks @ 40 hrs/wk = 4.8 years
So, 5 years working on something 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
I think Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hours metric in Blink. Pretty interesting stuff.
I think most really good sketchers are way past that though. I’m always reminded of an interview with some artist who said that when everyone is a child, they all draw equally well. The trouble is that by middle school, most have stopped. The people who are really good drawers as adults just never stopped drawing and their ability is commensurate with the time they’ve put in.
There is one caveat to that 10,000 hr rule. I believe it only applies if those 10,000 hrs were achieved BEFORE reaching the age of 21? Also, it’s not that it would merely make you an expert. I think the exact word used was a “virtuoso”. There are a lot of experts out there, but few I would consider to be a virtuoso.
The before 21 refers to virtuso’s, but yes I’ve heard that too. Ten thousand comes up a lot as the number of hours it takes to be an expert at any age.
Another caveat though, is that you have to be challenging yourself, making mistakes and re-working. So really, the work you would do at a job, which is generally just repetitive execution and not serious boundary pushing work, probably won’t do it in 10,000.
There’s no doubt kids have more capacity for learning than adults, but I think a lot of that comes down to the fact that kids have a lot of time, and adults don’t. Could I spare 6 hours a day for the next 5 years doing a single activity (apart from “work” or “looking at the internet”)? No way. But a seven year old could.
I’ve probably spent 10k hours on Solidworks though.
Hi, I’m new. I just had a discussion today with my professor at school and he mentioned about 10k hours to become an “expert”. I’m a junior in ID at Cal State University Long Beach.
There is a single major flaw to this statement IMO. Yes, it may be true that in order to become an expert you will probably have to spend 10,000 hours on your own. However, the greatest achievement in the evolution of human beings is language, which is the foundation for collective learning.
A person in any area of practice or skill can try to master anything through trial and error, but until someone comes along to assist, guide, and teach him the tools and tricks of the trade it will take forever. For example if you look at my sketching from two years ago you would not believe how much I have improved. And I was only able to do this by persistently reading, asking for help, observing, practicing, and even browsing on sites like core77.
Expert doesn’t necessarily mean Master (that’s the only word that comes to mind). There are many expert artists, but few Michaelangleos.
Everyone is capable of becoming an expert at something (language is a great example). But not everyone masters it …I am wondering if I have the Master and Expert reversed (case in point for the language discussion). 10K hours is just shy of 3.5 years if you are able to work on it 8 hours a day. Most 3.5 year olds have pretty much figured out language, down to things like nuance and humor. However, they haven’t Mastered it.
Your acceleration in skills, as far as I am concerned, is part and parcel to the 10K hrs theory. The better you become, the more confident you get. The more confident you get, the more boundaries you push. The more …u get the gist, I am sure (The expert at language that you are ).
Drayfus & Drayfus wrote about ‘levels of skills acquisition’; from novice to visionary. I seem to recall reading that the 10K hours mark was also used in their model.
Practice makes perfect, although I wonder if there may also be some short-cuts to this with regards sketching skills. It seems to me a major challenge for ‘novice’ sketchers is developing confidence in their own sketching ability. And that this lack of confidence may come from a misunderstanding of the purpose of the design sketch: sketching to support the design process, rather than the sketch itself as motivation for the activity of sketching.
Of course everyone loves a ‘good’ sketch, but those with less than 10,000 hours experience, need confidence in their own sketching abilities - one way to provide this might be to think of their sketch work in terms of its role as a tool for design and its role in design activity.