There’s an old adage that says, “It’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools.”
For the most part, this is true. On the other hand, a good craftsman doesn’t use lousy tools for their work, at least not for very long, because they know the difference.
So which matters to doing good work? Is it the artist’s talent or the tool which matters?
What I know matters is the tools which allow me to do a better job of the things I’m passionate about can make a difference in the outcome. I believe talent and tools both matter, but my experience is that only those with the talent to use them can really appreciate great tools.
A great tool won’t make a mediocre artist or craftsman do great work. In fact, a mediocre user probably can’t tell a substantial difference between great tools and mediocre ones. And a talented artist or craftsman can produce good work with mediocre tools when they have to. What is important to consider is that a person with the talent to really make use of great tools is changed when he or she has great tools in their hands. Something about those tools changes how they feel about themselves. And if that makes a difference in the outcome of the work then that matters. Because it reflects those feelings in the quality and enthusiasm in which they produce. It helps their confidence and that makes them stretch their goals to increase their ability. If a stone mason or wood carver have poor quality tools, they are spending time sharpening those tools rather than putting time into their work. They have to stop often and that takes away from both production and drive in the project. It can become tedious which saps enthusiasm. Can they still produce the same level of work? Absolutely. Because it’s their skill, talent, and the techniques they developed to make the end product. Not the tool. We’ve become enamored with slick marketing and have forgotten that we need to develop and practice skills that develop our creativity and not some tool that will presumably do it for us.