5 thoughts on “Understand the Difference: Creativity vs. Artistic Ability

  • February 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I teach drawing and watercolor painting at local venues, such as the library and local winery. My students, who have often signed up with no history of being taught to draw or pain, tell me they are not ‘creative’ and that I am the kind of person who was ‘born creative.’

    I tell them that no one is not creative, and no one cannot be NOT taught to draw or paint. Drawing and painting is a skill, and one which is not that hard to learn.

    Accessing your personal creativity can be more difficult but is often triggered by sitting and doodling, drawing things in your mind or just in the room. Some people who seem to lack all creativity turn out to learn to draw or paint with ease. My guess is they have less self-criticism than other students who suffer from anxiety.

    We can all learn to draw. We all drew when we were children, didn’t we? Okay, most of us did, if the opportunity was there.

    Never discourage yourself by saying you aren’t creative. You are. All people are. We created language, didn’t we?

    At the end of my classes, 99.9 per cent of my students have created something amazing. And they are amazed by their own ability. They are excited to keep trying, to keep learning, to keep opening their minds.

    And I am excited and joyful to find that I have helped them on that journey.

    Onward, to art!

    • February 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      I appreciate your comment and sharing your experience with how you saw others look at creativity, educate them, and encourage them to create despite of preconceived notions. You are right, it typically is hard to get someone who’s convinced themselves they lack creativity to create, although it is possible. Creativity is an ability we each have and at first it is up to the people in our environments (when we are kids) to help support and encourage behaviors associated with creativity; depending on how creativity was seen by the adults in our lives (whether they supported it or not) we will continue to actively engage our creativity at different levels. If the environment we were brought in was not supportive our mindset will be resistant, at first, of creative things but with some time and dedication that can change.

  • March 23, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Do you think it goes both ways? Do you think someone can have artistic ability without necessarily being creative? I’m a writer, and I think that is an art. But I don’t consider myself all that creative. Perhaps it’s because I mainly write about my own experiences rather than fiction?

    • March 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Hi Amanda,

      I believe, and there is a lot of research which also suggests this, that creativity is a trait we all share whether we choose to acknowledge it within ourselves or not. You mention you don’t consider yourself creative and I would have to ask how you define creativity? I can absolutely agree that each person will use their creativity to various degrees, and writing (fiction or non) is a creative way -in itself- of expressing your thoughts and emotions. What do you think?

  • April 26, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    There is also the problem of overuse of the word ‘creativity’, which is harmful for real, actual artists, the value of whose work is diminished by people claiming to be ‘creative’ for self-esteem purposes, based on pulling a chair out to reach something up high. Actual creativity, when joined with artistic ability, is a rare and special thing, artists have to put up with things like poverty, and exclusion from the mainstream, so it would be nice if there were some recognition of the uniqueness of that. You shouldn’t get the same amount of credit for writing a good novel as for pulling out a chair.


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