The title is the ratio of really terrible pictures an artist often goes through comparatively to the number that are considered worthy by the artist of showing to an audience.
It's usually this failure rate that drives people to say they "wish" that they could draw/paint/sculpt/etc., but that they "just don't have the talent". It's frustrating and the results are nowhere near immediate, but it needs to be approached with the same attitude as picking up any other skill or hobby; when you first learn to hit a ball with a bat, you miss a lot until you start picking up the coordination and getting in the practice. Art is no different. It's not a matter of magic or happenstance, it's a lot of hard work and repetition, neither of which ever truly go away.
What seems to make art a bit different, or at least in my experience, is that the "failure rate" is exceptionally high. I have to doodle a lot of really crappy things before I knock out something spectacular. The difference is that nobody really sees the crappy stuff. Because it's crappy, haha ;P Granted, my failure rate has shrunk a bit. I have my methods down on what to do when I'm having troubles and how to improve when I am not confident about one area (for example, I am not the best at drawing hands, so I compensate by studying a lot of hand references while I draw them to ensure accuracy), but it greatly varies from person to person.
Another hindering issue si that many budding artists do a lot of comparing with skill level at very unreasonable levels. I'm very much guilty of doing so, and I'm sure even the pros have their hangups. The issue that discourages a lot of would-be artists is that they compare their level of skill to people whose experience beats theirs by years and years. I would reason that it's about the same as equating a Little League baseball player to someone in the MLB, but for some reason it seems so much less outrageous when comparing artistic skill. Often, they have a friend or particular artist that inspires them, but then they begin to be envious, unable to "compete" (and art can seem very cutthroat), when realistically, they simply do not yet have a comparable level of knowledge to even "play the game".
If you want to draw or paint or do X or Y badly enough, then the solution is fairly simple: do it. Be inspired, really dig into the heart of why certain things pique your interest -- why do you feel inspired by a particular artist? What elements do you admire about their work? There is nothing wrong with figuring out what appeals to you in specific and incorporating it into your own style, rather than ripping off an entire genre (sadly a very rampant trend in anime in particular). On days when nothing goes right, keep drawing, because the shitty pictures are just as important as the good ones
. They're lessons learned, your own personal artistic history. The most important part about drawing is that you're doing it. Track your progress over a series of weeks, months, and even years, and you will be shocked to see the changes that take place when you hardly realized.
tl;dr - I have progress shots of a current project.
I had an initial sketch made of my idea and began to paint directly over it. I let it sit for a few months and recently needed something to work on, so I decided to revisit it, especially since my main focus lately has been on full-color illustrations instead of just plain character shots as usual.
My direct painting wasn't working out, so I decided to drop the shading under the lineart and try a different approach.
Closer shot of details as the face develops a bit.
Somewhere in here I stopped tracking my progress on the face, so this skips forward a bit.
And again, I didn't track much in between, but I tend to jump around a lot as I work -- I get really ADD about what I'm working on and need to skip to different sections to keep my interest, but really it works out for the better because the whole piece develops together as a whole instead of in separate pieces.
You'll notice that I continuously blend back different colors to try and get a good consistency all around. I don't necessarily like to hide all of my brushstrokes, but I strive for a good balance.
I'm continuously trying to push the contrast more and deepen the range of colors I use, yay! Also, the pattern I added to her shirt is getting shaded so it is continuous with the depth of the shirt.
If you look closely, I've begun to include a bit of green overlay to help make the range of shadows more interesting and dynamic. Zoomed in as this is, it seems more evident, but when you go to a 100% view or less, it is practically undetectable -- it fools the eye and blends into a deep red/dark brown.
EXTREME CLOSEUP. You can see the subtleties in shading and such. ~*~~*fancy~*~*~*~
Most recent version. Gradually going to add beads into her hair, tattoos (that red blob on her arm), and I WILL COMPLETE THAT HAND :( Hands are my weakness, so I've had to correct it a lot.
The pose needs some adjustment, as well as some anatomical mishaps, but that's why it's a work in progress :>