I’ve read a number of articles by illustration professionals about the profession, pointing out the truth behind working in the art field. I think had I not read them, I would have said the exact same things they said, but the type of questions these professionals get asked make me feel like aspiring artists these days may also have forgotten the most important part of being an art professional, or any professional. So I’ve decided to write this even though most of this is really obvious. I don’t consider myself too much of a professional, but I feel the road I’ve taken to get to where I am suits the subject.
Do you aspire to be an artist? Maybe you want to work for a game company, maybe you want to run the game company yourself, draw a comic, create your own line of designs, and do that for a living.
But, maybe you’re old enough to realize that doing something for a living is putting your living on the line. Maybe you’ve been told to think twice, three times, five times over before you decide. Maybe you’ve researched and heard lots of touching stories of how passionate and happy artists are about their careers. Or maybe you’ve researched and saw a lot of successful artists telling you that everything underneath the profession is not all the glory it seems on the surface. Surely your parents tell you that the phrase “starving artist” didn’t come out of nowhere.
So, you don’t know if this is a logical, smart, sensible, or responsible thing to do. You don’t know if you should. You can’t come to a decision without feeling guilty about either not caring about being able to support your family, or not caring about your childhood dreams and aspirations. To become an artist, or not to become an artist.
I get asked all the time, how did you get the exposure you have, how did you come so far, how did you do so much. I can only answer, I got lucky, because I did. I have no idea how I rallied the support I have today. But I know one thing: I didn’t know about any of this when I was little, when I started doing art a lot. And had I had the maturity and knowledge I have now back then and is capable of reconsidering, I wouldn’t have done the same thing. And I wouldn’t be here today.
I don’t know if you’ve heard this before, but it’s often mentioned that there are a lot of things that only children can do, only children can understand/see. When you were small, you might feel embarrassed from time to time when adults make fun of your favourite shows because they don’t understand it, and you think they think it’s juvenile. I was chatting with my mom once about that since I don’t let her read Carciphona. My mom told me that while this might be the case, did you also know sometimes older people look at you enjoy those things and can only admire and think to themselves, “I’m getting old. I lost the senses I had in my youth, I can’t keep up with them anymore. I’m too dumb to understand these things.”
I didn’t know about or cared about any of these things when I was little. I just knew it’s something I like doing, and so I knew I’m going to make it happen. And I did. I started drawing and posting, I started illustrating my story. I didn’t think about the fact that if I start then rather than honing my skills first, I will look back at the beginning of my manga later on and cringe. I didn’t think about the fact that if I post my art now rather than getting better first, people will find my old works in the future and laugh at how bad I once was. I just didn’t know. I was only a naive child, I had nothing holding me back.
As you grow up and learn more about the world, you forget the important things, those instinctual things you knew without knowing as a child. You forget that you’re going through lengths reconsidering this decision only because you dream to be an artist. The only thing you can remember is that this might be a bad decision.
If you want to be an artist, or any other profession, just do what it takes to make it happen. Be it holding extra jobs, working 7 days a week, going to school for a different career to support your art career on the side; plan and follow your plans. The time you spend weighing your options is the time other artists use to create art, showcase themselves, work for funds, and get one step closer to their goal. If you saw through the work that will take you to reach your goal and you are not sure whether you are willing to follow it through, don’t become an artist. No matter how many professional artists you ask “would you recommend becoming an artist”, the facts will not change. The things they are willing to do to make them love their job will never transfer to you. You will forever draw with hesitation and self doubt while admiring others and being depressed, wondering why you can’t become as “good” as they are, and as “happy” as they are.
note: those who can’t financially afford to achieve your goals or have other special unfortunate circumstances, please don’t feel offended by my tone in this post
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