Charcoal pencils with sketch
Artwork created by @iansajulan

Are You Too Old To Learn Art? 5 Facts That Prove You’re Not

Tips Written by Massiel Valenzuela-Castaneda Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you(learn more)

I’ve felt the same way: wondering if I was already past my prime to begin my art journey. Chances are you’ve had some interest in art all of your life but haven’t taken the plunge.

Now you might be watching the art wave blowing up on Instagram.

Or maybe your kids are starting an art class and you’re left wondering, is it too late for me?

It’s not.

But just to remind you why—here are 5 points that prove you can start learning to draw or paint at any age.

1. Even the Greats Started Late

We know artists by name or by painting.

But did you know that some of our favorite artists got a late start too?


Master of the French Impressionist era, Monet is praised highly to this day.

But he didn’t really dive into art until his wife passed away(he was in his late 40s). He went on to produce famous works such as Impression, Sunrise.

Van Gogh

He’s famously known for cutting off his own ear and the well-loved painting Starry Night.

This Post-Impressionist painter didn’t have an exhibition until his 30s. And his early death at 37 meant that the bulk of his work was produced in his final years.

Mary Delaney

She was unhappily forced to marry a much older man at a young age, so she spent her youth caring for him. But she later created the era-famous decoupage art from about the age of 71 to 88. Her popularity even made her friends with royalty.

Dr. Seuss

A name known worldwide for its childhood impact, Theodore Geisel wrote and illustrated his own books that are still wildly popular to this day.

He was rejected at least 23 times before finally getting published at the age of 33.

Stack of Dr Seuss books
Image source

2. Your Brain is Trying to Protect You (But It’s Not Helping)

Your subconscious mind has many ways to protect you. But that doesn’t mean it’s always correct.

According to The Fear Epidemic, our brains generate plenty of excuses that makes us hesitate when facing our fears.

This behavior was helpful when our environment was actually a threat(like facing down a lion in the wild). But those triggers aren’t around so much these days and the human brain hasn’t caught up.

So instead ask yourself, “Is this fear based on truth or is it just an excuse concocted to protect me?” It’s not as scary as you think.

In fact, go to any art studio class and you’ll find that you’re not the oldest one around. And if you are – well, you’re already in the room so you might as well get started.

Pencil portrait face drawing
Artwork created by Objuan Shinobi

3. Career Change is Common

Are you thinking of switching careers and jumping into the art industry? Or maybe you’re finally starting art as a freelance side gig.

Well, you’re not alone.

On average, adults change careers about 12 times in their lifetime. And with the millennial workforce moving into more remote jobs that can be done almost anywhere, that number keeps growing.

Depending on your age group there might be a few things to consider before making the plunge. And it’s important to start with the basics first before worrying about paying work or “getting good”.

But if the thought still scares you, keep a couple of things in mind:

  • You don’t have to do it alone. There are coaches and mentors out there who are happy to help you in making this transition.
  • It doesn’t end there. Check out the artists that you admire. Chances are that they’re not just artists on commission. They might also be doing coaching, teaching, or consulting.

4. You’ve Seen This Before

You probably know your industry pretty well by now. You’re a professional in something or at least earn a living somewhere.

You’ve seen the bright-eyed newbie walk through the door before.

And after a few years, they’re holding the manager’s hat. They moved forward with time and practice.

You might even have helped them with some encouragement.

It’s the same for you.

Think of yourself just like the eager, bright-eyed pupil. Age is just the number of years you’ve been here, not a limiter on how much you have left.

This has nothing to do with age and everything to do with effort, time, and patience.

You’re ready to learn and the proof that anyone can start fresh is already in front of you.

5. Time is On Your Side

It may not seem true at first, but you have time on your side.

You might think that studying art can take a decade before you reach a higher skill level. And with an undergraduate degree of about four years followed by an apprenticeship the time adds up.

But with focused effort you can see progress much faster.

Animal drawings and sketches
Artwork created by @fladderbird

Take a good look at your artistic goals. Find streamlined resources that take you towards your goals. Great learning materials will cut down your beginner “I suck at art” period by more than half.

For example we’ve done reviews of online art courses that would be great for any skill level.

Programs like these can take you up to a professional level in as little as a year.

You can also start by checking out a year-long program for specialized art(concept art, animation art, character design, etc). One example is CG spectrum mostly aimed at concept art & 3D animation.

Another more streamlined school is FZD in Singapore with a 1-year intensive training that takes semi-newbie artists and churns out pros. We published a detailed interview on FZD’s school with first-hand experience shared by a past student.

Having a clear goal in mind shortens the time to get moving and start working on exactly what you want to create.

Are you more interested in oils or digital art? Do you ultimately want to create characters, comics, environments, portraits, or something inbetween? Maybe a mix of everything?

Knowing what you want and knowing how to approach learning that is half the battle to starting.

Having that knowledge won’t make you a master overnight, in fact nothing will. But the added boost will give you significant improvement quickly with a clear path to follow.

Regardless of age, there is plenty of time to pursue your artistic goals at any level.

Think about your favorite artists. I’m sure you’re overjoyed that they produce art that inspires you.

People appreciate art no matter the artist’s age.

The same can be said for you.

No matter your age, imagine that you’ve inspired somebody like yourself who’s glad that you stuck to it and produced your art.

You can do this at any age. It may take a few years to achieve the skill level you want. But starting right now is the way to get there.

Besides, creating art is what gives many people real happiness. And you’re never too old to be happy.

Author: Massiel Valenzuela-Castaneda

Massiel is an artist and YA author from Hollister, California. She loves animation, self-improvement books, pumpkin spice lattes, and pit-bulls. Her goal is to help make the world a kinder and more inspired place. Find Massiel on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.