Can You Learn To Paint Like A Prodigy?

Can You Improve Your Art Skills Like A Prodigy?

You'll Need These 3 Things

What can research about child prodigies teach us about expanding our skill set?

Researchers have discovered a few things that many prodigies have in common. I believe you can use these 3 things to paint better faster.

Want to improve your art know-how? I don't believe that rapid skill growth is reserved for the young. I believe you can do it too.

Prodigies are known to reach a level of mastery rather quickly. They often reach a level of adult mastery in a specific field at a young age.

It's important to note that prodigies tend to reach a level of "adult mastery". They're not reaching supernatural levels of ability. They simply reach the master level. The same or at least a level similar to adults who have mastered a given domain.

Researchers such as Ellen Winner, a psychology professor at Boston College have studied prodigies. Prodigies are said to have these 3 things in common. I believe you can also have these 3 things and use them to learn to increase your art expertise.

You'll Need These 3 Things

  1. Rage To Master
  2. Rule Based Domains
  3. Working Memory

Rage To Master

To have the "rage to master" something is simply having an intense desire. If you have a driving desire to achieve what your goals, you've probably got this area covered.

How do you know if your desire is intense enough? Analyze your time for one week. How many hours are you actually working towards your goals?

Are other tasks and responsibilities getting in your way? If other things are eating up your time, you many need to work on intensifying your desire to achieve this goal.

Having the rage to master your craft is a simple measurement of your interest level.

If you want to have the rage to master something, just get serious about it. If you're making slow progress toward your goals, you may have to spend a bit of time asking yourself how dedicated you truly are. Intensifying your interest level and efforts is well within your control.

Rule Based Domains

Prodigies often succeed in rule based domains. In a rule based domain, follow the rules and you can get better and better at it.

Music for instance is a rule based domain. Put simply, the rules might consist of learning to read music and playing in tune among other things. There's a long list of rules to follow when learning to play music.

Fine Art is also a rule based domain. This is especially true in realistic art or representational art. There are rules for proportions, rules and art techniques for using art materials, rules for art composition, rules of color theory, etc.

The rules are time-tested. Some have been passed down by painters for hundreds of years.

Learn as many of the rules or art fundamentals as you can. Practice and apply them if you'd like to see rapid growth.

Working Memory

Researchers suggest that a strong working memory helps young prodigies master skills at a young age. How strong is your working memory? Not sure? The good news is that research suggests that you can improve it.

Here's how to improve your working memory. Practice mindfulness or meditation for 12 minutes each day.

I had read the research on how working memory helped prodigies master their craft. I had also read that working memory is something that we can train or improve. The information was vague however on how to do it.

Then I came across a book by Dr. Amishi Jha called Peak Mind. I'd recommend you read it. She explains what working memory is and how it is our "portal to learning".

Most importantly, her research demonstrates how we can improve our working memory through mindfulness and meditation.

To sum it up for you, mindfulness has to do with noticing. Become aware of your mind-wandering. By practicing mindfulness every day, learn to train your perception or attention.


I believe you can use these 3 things to improve your art skills. You're in control of the interest level and how hard it drives you to work toward your goals.

Fine Art is a rule based domain. You can learn and apply the rules to accelerate your skill set.

Research suggests that you can improve your working memory which is your portal to learning.

Recommended reading:

Gifted Children: Myths And Realities by Ellen Winner

Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention by Amishi P. Jha

Author: Sonia Reeder-Jones