The reaction from these little epistles and my website continues to inspire me. In return, I hope I can do a little inspiring too. Here is another reaction, this time to my website: "I also visited those wonderful pictures, and I tell you, I was discouraged.
(Can you tell I barely received encouragement when I was younger?)"
Let me try and make up for lost time by encouraging you now.
First, learn to draw accurately. There is almost NOTHING you can do in art that doesn't first require at least SOME drawing skill. There are two ways to draw. One uses the left side of the brain, the other the right side. Left-brain drawing demands photos or some other concrete, two-dimensional source and is best done using a grid or simple measurements (a millimeter ruler comes in handy). You can easily enlarge by doubling, tripling, quadrupling, etc. your measurements provided you've scaled your canvas accordingly. Right-brain drawing is the more traditional method, (since so many artists tend to be right-brained) either sketching more loosely from a 2-D source or working directly from a 3-D model, (still-life, landscape, or figure). I guess your preference depends on the degree you favor one side or the other of your brain over the other in doing your work. I test out pretty much dead center (whole-brained) but prefer photos and left-brain drawing myself.
Second, creativity in art is terribly over-emphasized today. In the first place, in this day and age, there is NOTHING new under the sun. There is only RETRO, and INFLUENCES. That doesn't mean you can't strive to be both DIFFERENT and BETTER. That doesn't mean you can't be FASTER and CHEAPER in doing your work and selling it. That doesn't mean you can't choose subject matter that is unique and try to present it in a unique manner. Look for gaps. Try things that frighten other artists. Learn to be versatile. Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be paid an artist is that he or she is VERSATILE--they can do anything...any subject, any medium, any style, any TYPE of work. Now, having said this, it is also good to SPECIALIZE, find one thing you can do better than MOST artists, and make that the spearhead of your work.
Third, and finally, WORK. Draw, draw, draw, paint, paint, paint, and most of all, think, think, think. Painting is done in the MIND first, then on paper, then on canvas.