A career in Art when you already have a carreer.
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Thread: A career in Art when you already have a carreer.

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    A career in Art when you already have a carreer.

    Hello fellow artists,

    I sometime have the impression that most members of the community is formed of 2 main groups; the young aspiring artists with or without an Art education degree and the other one group formed of professional artists who already live their dreams of working within a field where they can exhude their passion in art from every beat of their body

    Why making such observation? because if it is the case, I do not feel part of any of these 2 categories. Of course I love art and enjoy developping my skills and knowledge about it. However I ain't that young anymore (36 years old) and I do not have the priviledge either to fulfill a career in a creative environment...in fact, the closest daily duties that requires me to make use of my creative skills at my work place is when I am making colorful spreadsheets and graphs for my manager....

    Therefore, I would be quite interested to find out if there are others like me...settled in one non-artistic profession/ career (for whatever reasons) but who discover later in their life that their true self is whithin Art.

    So to all aspiring concept or comic artists, illustrator, painter, sculptor, etc....who occupy their day in professions which arent' that rewarding artsitically, make yourself known and tell me how you getting on with juggling between your professional, familial responsabilities and your passion for Art and may be desire to breakthrough. Are there any succesful stories out there? Someone who at the age of 35-40-45, changed their career, reverted to Art and became a succesful artist? And for you young aspiring artists or professionals, how do you regard this? What do you think of making such plans when being part of this age bracket, how would you tackle it?

    I hope that I haven't protraited myself as big descriminatory p***k by categorising the members of the community. I fully believe that we can all learn from each other and I am so fortunate to be part of this community regarless our age, background and aspirations.

    Cheers for your comments!

    Observation is the Imagination's servant, It can carry you into uncharted territories."

    My Sketchbook: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=203841
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    I became a full time artist at 35 before that it was off and on for ten years while I worked at other jobs like electronics and construction to support myself.

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    Similar story to dpaint's. I started construction at 17, worked on my art when I could, eventually went to college and got a graphic design degree and started my career in video games at 29. It was then that I realized how much I needed to work on my art.

    I believe Baron Impossible has an even better story...maybe he'll chime in.

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    I was in the biotech industry doing molecular biology. Drew and painted on the side as a hobby and not even serious at all. This was when I was in my mid 30s.

    Long story short:

    Science nerd>seeing what can be done on a Mac with the newest illo software (MacDraw, LOL)>buying a mac and working at home to learn digital illustration>applying to contract job illustrating cd-rom games>quitting science to do it full time>realizing how damn hard illo is as a full time career+growing interest in design>full-time web designer (self-taught)>Creative Director for marketing company.

    It can be done!

    j

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    I could say I am going through what dpaint has already gone through. I'm 27 years of age and working in a projection booth of a cinema where I am gradually being replaced by automated digital machines ( Bye bye 35mm film ) I found art....Been drawing now for the past year, trying to develop as and when I can. Inbetween work shifts (which are varied each week) and all the "Life" stuff that you have to do.

    To quit my job, and focus on this 10 hours a day would be great. But then How would I eat? Pay the bills? For me it has to be a gradual thing....

    Main thing is....do you enjoy art? If yes, then you will do it regardless. When you have that spare minute in the car, waiting for the kids to come out of school, etc... and so forth.

    Main thing is...if you enjoy it....go for it.

    My grandfather decided to take up carpentry at the age of 65. He's 72 now and their house is fully furnished with Units, cupboards and cabinets that he has made. All for just the love of being creative with his time.

    Age is of no concern.

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    OmenSpirits is offline Commercial-Illustrator in-training, NOT an artist. Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    I've work (and am still currently) working in the same company since I was 15 (weekend shift) & have ALWAYS pursued a creative field.

    And always will. I'll most likely do both, because of the health benefits (I've a chronic disease that makes it highly necessary to have health care) and it provides me income to pursue my craft.

    I am 36. I am neither young nor old ( ).

    I pursued writing (fiction) for 8 years before going back to illustration (though lately I've been getting requests for short stories- and being paid for them...*sigh*, why couldn't this happen when I had the interest...but never let an opportunity pass you by, so I write again).

    With my luck, I ever finish that damn novel (20,000 words left to it-mystery/crime) The damn thing would most likely be published. Would've been published by now (I was/am respected and considered in my genre community. I know how to socialize when necessary to make and made solid contacts, and kept them).

    So no door is ever closed.

    I'm not settled in this George Jetson job, I plan on moving into a position of Information specialist (I'm a tech head to a certain extent) and enjoy technology quite abit.

    Last edited by OmenSpirits; March 17th, 2011 at 01:30 PM.
    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    Quote Originally Posted by patram
    Are there any succesful stories out there? Someone who at the age of 35-40-45, changed their career, reverted to Art and became a succesful artist?
    I'll let you know in a couple of months or maybe a year

    Although I've been working with various digital media either professionally or as a hobbyist for something like 12 years, I didn't start drawing until a few years ago.

    Personally I find it very tough to come home and be really productive after a day job. After some initial enthusiasm I hadn't done a whole lot until 4 months ago when I was made redundant from my job teaching "multimedia" and decided to go full-time with it.

    I will be done with "phase 1" of my portfolio this week and hopefully I can get some illustration work to stop the hemorrhaging of my savings enough to get a concept design portfolio out the door and some stable full-time employment.

    At 35 I feel a little bit foolish trying to do this but I guess I felt it was now or never.

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    Really inspirational thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by m8y View Post
    At 35 I feel a little bit foolish trying to do this but I guess I felt it was now or never.
    I've seen your sketchbook. I think you'd only be foolish if you did not go for it.

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    Am in my early 30s. Drawing since I was a kid, but never really considered a serious career in art until two or three years ago. Self-taught. Graduated in an engineering course. Working as a tech support right now. Is still hoping to become an illustrator for entertainment media.

    Will let you know when that happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    I've seen your sketchbook. I think you'd only be foolish if you did not go for it.
    Seconded

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    I've been drawing off and on since I was 16. Turning 30 this year I find myself in a secretary position in a country that will not offer me many opportunities. With a mortgage to pay the prospect of quitting my day job to pursue art is not a viable option. I've had some commissions, but they are few and far between, a far cry from being able to pay the bills on those.
    So I try to improve as much as i can in my spare time and hopefully I will reach a tipping point some day that i will notice my skill level being at an acceptable level and an unlikely opportunity comes by.
    As you might be able to tell, I'm not very hopeful that that will happen, but you never know. And in the meantime I keep my mind off of such worries by trying to improve.

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    My situation is exactly what you've described. I'm 45 and have been painting/drawing for the last 4 years. Trying to make it as a full-time artist, but still got a lot more work to do until then.

    For 40+ hours a week, I write software for a Neuroscience company. Have been writing software for over 20 years. The nice part is is that my office knows that I'm an oil painter and I know Photoshop. So, I get to work on a lot of the images for webinars, brochures, posters, etc. Plus, I also do a lot of User Interface design (which you are solving the same problems as you do in a painting.... control how the user "reads" the screen" and make it visually appealing).

    When I'm not at work, I'm either 1) spending time with my wife and dogs, 2) doing non-art fun stuff, or 3) working on my art business. Since I sell my paintings at art shows/craft fairs, I have to make sure that I have a large inventory of paintings available for shows. This includes creating prints and doing my own marketing.

    For spending time painting, I try to paint about 10 hours a week (not including training time). This is not a lot of time, but it's something. One night a week, I train with a local oil painter, but the other times, I'm either doing plein-air work, drawing, doing a study, or working on a painting to sell. I also have an easel in my living room to "guilt" myself into making sure that I paint, rather than just waste the time away.

    It's a lot of work, but, my goal is to have an established business and a large income stream by the time that I retire (20 years from now). The key is knowing what your short-term goals and the long-term goals are.

    I wouldn't do this much work if I didn't love to paint.

    Dougie

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    Guys your comments really make my day!

    Dpaint: Thanks dude for your comment, I worked very briefly in construction too, and it ain't the most enjoyable experience I have either! I am glad to hear that you made it and see that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Jeff: Thank you. From your comment I sense that you knew early enough where you would be heading. College must have given you enough structure to trace your career direction. With a degree in your pocket in graphic design you were in the right path! Well done!

    Jrstebbins: Biotech industry! Molecular biology! Man it sounds like (and must be) a very specific industry and profession which require a good bunch of scientific years of studies.
    Thank you very much. You really went for it, your career change and progression is very inspirational!

    Darkseed: Thanks for this. The desire to quit my current position to invest my times towards my art does cross my mind, but I am realistic too, with bills to pay and family to feed, this will not happen. Making the most of it, is what I do, but it always feels at the end of the day that there is never enough hours in a 24 hours day.

    OmenSpirits: Thank you dude. You seem to cope with the bright side of an unfortunate situation. This confirms that it can be done even by someone who lives with heath related restrictions. May I ask you what is the chronic disease you are suffering from? And best of luck with your novel.

    m8y: Thank you. Well, keep me posted when your big break happens and save some tips for me. Surprisingly, I am always very motivated to draw after a long day at work. The obstacles are the distractions around me and the clock ticking in fast forward speed. If I was made redundant (with an interesting package, of course) I would most probably look at the same option than you took. Good luck with the portfolio.

    Star Eater: Yes I agree. I found these comments very inspirational too. Thank you for liking this thread.

    Jie: Thank for sharing this. Same as you, I always been drawing from a very early age, but because of a lack of determination and self belief in my own potential, I never tried to take it to a professional level until my early 30s.

    [Your quote]"Will let you know when that happens."

    Not if it happens to me first!!! (haha)

    KweckDuck: Thank you. You summed up pretty much my situation in your lines. Damn guys! you make me feel great! It would be quite a shame if we're not reaching our dreams/goals..... I wish you the best and success through your journey to immense skill improvement!!

    Dougie: Thank you very much for sharing your story. Setting and achieve short, mid, long-term goals is what will take me there....and seems to be even more essentials when you live a life with responsibilities. From your story what I like the most is that you used your current company to expand your skills and perform some creative artwork which is quite an advantage. You are working in an environment where you know that your art skills are recognised and valued. This is something very beneficial and motivating. What I would retain from your experience is not to look for a new environment involving art but to turn your existing one into it! Thank you very much for that.


    It is without doubt, very reassuring to know that some of you are or have been in the same stage than I am in today. And I find this pretty inspiring cause it sends a message of hope for whoever is crossing the infamous moments of frustrations and doubts, when paved obstacles makes you questioned your chances of success....

    As I am writing these lines with the strong belief that it can be done, I am sure that they are many more like me and you out there. So make yourself known and share your apprehensions, hesitations, difficulties and fears or maybe your confidence, your tips, your thoughts about how one aspiring artist whose life is filled with professional and/or familial responsibilities (or any responsibilities that life throws at us), is or has managed (or even would ) successfully progress towards an artistic career.

    Observation is the Imagination's servant, It can carry you into uncharted territories."

    My Sketchbook: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=203841
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    I'm 35 years old, getting really close to 36, and I've been trying to become a professional artist and writer for about 15 years now and I've failed. I've failed horribly. Sure, I've done a lot of work locally (t-shirt designs, tattoo designs and such) and made a few bucks here and there, but I never succeeded in doing anything professional. My whole life, I've dreamed of writing screenplays and illustrating graphic novels and designing video games but I never made it. I tried. I sent out artwork and story synopses to scores of game companies, producers and comic publishers that accept unsolicited work but to no avail. I wrote and illustrated a little book that I couldn't do anything with. I spent six months illustrating a comic book for nothing. No one would even look at it. I tried to get some friends together to make a movie once, but all we did was talk. I was the only one that actually did something, but I couldn't do it all by myself so nothing got made.

    The fact is that there are simpy far too many atists in the world, all fighting for the same jobs. There are too many writers. Too many athelets. Too many musicians. I bet in high school, there was a guy that was amazing at basketball or football and everyone thought he was going to go pro, but he didn't, did he? Everyone knows someone that's in a band and they may be really talented, but they'll probably never get that record deal. There's just too many bands out there all fighting to get listened to. There once was a time when a talented nobody could make it big, but those days are gone. The internet killed it.

    In the last couple of years, my mom died, one of my uncles died, three of my friends died, five of my dad's cats died (I watched two of them go and had to bury them both), and one of my younger brothers got a brain tumor (thankfully cured). All that death and near-death got me really thinking about my life. On top of all that, this year, my friend's oldest daughter, whom I've know since she was a day old, is graduating from high school this year. My hair is starting to turn gray. My legs are starting to hurt. I threw my back out flipping my neice around one day. I'm starting to feel old. All that has me really assessing my life at this point.

    When I look back at the last fifteen years, I truly feel like I wasted them trying to be an artist. I don't even like drawing anymore. I used to love it. I used to live for it. I used to spend days, even weeks on an illustration and when I was done, I would be filled with a sense of pride. Now, I feel like I've just wasted days of my life that I'll never get back. I feel drained and crushed. Not long ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who's a tattoo artist and I told him I hated being an artist. I hated having a talent. People have often told me that they wished that they could draw and I always replied "Why?". It's a curse. I see people living normal lifes, working the same job day after day, year after year yet they are perfectly content to do so. I can't do it. I was born to create. The longest I've ever worked the same job was four and half years and I hated every day of it. My head is full of ideas for movies and books and video games and I long to get them out of my head and into the world, but I can't and I most likely never will. Breaking into any industry these days is like winning the lottery. The odds of making it are astronomical.

    When I had jobs, I was miserable because I wanted to be creating something. When I'm not working, I'm miserable because I'm creating things, but they're pointless. I've done well over a hundred illustrations, but so what? I've gained nothing for it. I've just lost untold hours of my life, sitting in front of a computer screen or a sketchpad, not to mention all the money I've spent on ink and paper and paint and printers and scanners and art programs and tablets. I'm poor and I have no health insurance and I live in the same crappy town I graduated high school from, a town I couldn't wait to get out of. The front end of my car has been smashed for years and I can't afford to fix it. I had a decent job once, but I hated it and one day I quit in a fit of rage. I was miserable at that job. I dreaded going to work every day. I gave it up to follow my dreams. The problem is that I never made my dreams come true. Now, instead of being miserable with a lot of money and health insurance, I'm miserable and broke. Those people that say "Follow your dreams! You can make it! You can be anything you want to be!" are full of shit.

    So, in the end, my advice is to keep your day job and just keep art as a hobby. I wish I'd done that. I wish I'd lived a real life instead of sitting in front of a computer screen drawing stupid pictures. I keep thinking about all the things in life that I've never done. All the places I never went to. Time is the most precious thing you have because it's the one thing you never get back and I pissed most of my time away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Reed View Post
    I'm 35 years old, getting really close to 36, and I've been trying to become a professional artist and writer for about 15 years now and I've failed. I've failed horribly. Sure, I've done a lot of work locally (t-shirt designs, tattoo designs and such) and made a few bucks here and there, but I never succeeded in doing anything professional. My whole life, I've dreamed of writing screenplays and illustrating graphic novels and designing video games but I never made it. I tried. I sent out artwork and story synopses to scores of game companies, producers and comic publishers that accept unsolicited work but to no avail. I wrote and illustrated a little book that I couldn't do anything with. I spent six months illustrating a comic book for nothing. No one would even look at it. I tried to get some friends together to make a movie once, but all we did was talk. I was the only one that actually did something, but I couldn't do it all by myself so nothing got made.

    The fact is that there are simpy far too many atists in the world, all fighting for the same jobs. There are too many writers. Too many athelets. Too many musicians. I bet in high school, there was a guy that was amazing at basketball or football and everyone thought he was going to go pro, but he didn't, did he? Everyone knows someone that's in a band and they may be really talented, but they'll probably never get that record deal. There's just too many bands out there all fighting to get listened to. There once was a time when a talented nobody could make it big, but those days are gone. The internet killed it.

    In the last couple of years, my mom died, one of my uncles died, three of my friends died, five of my dad's cats died (I watched two of them go and had to bury them both), and one of my younger brothers got a brain tumor (thankfully cured). All that death and near-death got me really thinking about my life. On top of all that, this year, my friend's oldest daughter, whom I've know since she was a day old, is graduating from high school this year. My hair is starting to turn gray. My legs are starting to hurt. I threw my back out flipping my neice around one day. I'm starting to feel old. All that has me really assessing my life at this point.

    When I look back at the last fifteen years, I truly feel like I wasted them trying to be an artist. I don't even like drawing anymore. I used to love it. I used to live for it. I used to spend days, even weeks on an illustration and when I was done, I would be filled with a sense of pride. Now, I feel like I've just wasted days of my life that I'll never get back. I feel drained and crushed. Not long ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who's a tattoo artist and I told him I hated being an artist. I hated having a talent. People have often told me that they wished that they could draw and I always replied "Why?". It's a curse. I see people living normal lifes, working the same job day after day, year after year yet they are perfectly content to do so. I can't do it. I was born to create. The longest I've ever worked the same job was four and half years and I hated every day of it. My head is full of ideas for movies and books and video games and I long to get them out of my head and into the world, but I can't and I most likely never will. Breaking into any industry these days is like winning the lottery. The odds of making it are astronomical.

    When I had jobs, I was miserable because I wanted to be creating something. When I'm not working, I'm miserable because I'm creating things, but they're pointless. I've done well over a hundred illustrations, but so what? I've gained nothing for it. I've just lost untold hours of my life, sitting in front of a computer screen or a sketchpad, not to mention all the money I've spent on ink and paper and paint and printers and scanners and art programs and tablets. I'm poor and I have no health insurance and I live in the same crappy town I graduated high school from, a town I couldn't wait to get out of. The front end of my car has been smashed for years and I can't afford to fix it. I had a decent job once, but I hated it and one day I quit in a fit of rage. I was miserable at that job. I dreaded going to work every day. I gave it up to follow my dreams. The problem is that I never made my dreams come true. Now, instead of being miserable with a lot of money and health insurance, I'm miserable and broke. Those people that say "Follow your dreams! You can make it! You can be anything you want to be!" are full of shit.

    So, in the end, my advice is to keep your day job and just keep art as a hobby. I wish I'd done that. I wish I'd lived a real life instead of sitting in front of a computer screen drawing stupid pictures. I keep thinking about all the things in life that I've never done. All the places I never went to. Time is the most precious thing you have because it's the one thing you never get back and I pissed most of my time away.
    That's interesting that you say all that, because I looked through some of your old posts and found your work. You are very talented. I don't know how you don't have a job somewhere. Maybe you have your sights too high? Have you tried commissioning yourself as a freelancer? You could setup a website and post your stuff on there and market yourself - if you don't already. If I made a comic I would post "installments" of it online in hopes of gaining a following, and participate in forums that may accept your work if it's popular (I believe Toykopop does, or did this. Just as an example). Maybe setup a blog? Have you ever went to conventions to meet other artists? Did you try all the back-alley jobs online - anything and everything that is art related to get your name out (and to get more experience)? Maybe throw up some youtube videos showing pointers on how to draw, to see how many hits you get? I don't really know the specifics of what you have all done, but you have to be creative and do anything that might help you out. That's how I see it anyway.

    I'm sorry that it turned out that way, but from what I looked at, you shouldn't give up. You've come a long way and I believe you can still make something of it.

    Last edited by MatthewHD; March 22nd, 2011 at 02:08 AM.
    Sketchbook: There and Back again Updated- 7/04/12
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    OmenSpirits is offline Commercial-Illustrator in-training, NOT an artist. Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    Quote Originally Posted by patram View Post
    OmenSpirits: Thank you dude. You seem to cope with the bright side of an unfortunate situation. This confirms that it can be done even by someone who lives with heath related restrictions. May I ask you what is the chronic disease you are suffering from? And best of luck with your novel.
    I'm a diabetic since 8 years old and have had the number 1 thing I never wanted to deal with happen, & got through.

    Almost lost my sight.

    But I didn't, though my right eye lacks peripheral, I can still see out of both.

    Oh the novel will sit on the shelf, I'm pushing myself to do short stories (which was requested by the publisher). When my mind shifted to illustration, my writer's mind shut down! lol

    What a pain! But thanks for the well wishes.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    @Justin: That's pretty sad. Not just losing friends, family and pets, but losing the will to create art. I can definitely understand where your anger is coming from.

    I had my chance when I finished high school and was deciding on what to do next. I actually went to the entrance exams (which took several days) for an animation school and stopped halfway through because of an unsupportive girlfriend and a huge level difference in what I was making compared to what the others were, which made me unsure that it was really for me.

    In retrospect the level difference would have made me work harder than anyone else and it would have given me the confidence I really needed at that time in my life. I always think back on that and think I blew my chance.

    I don't hate my job, but I don't like it either. And I'm afraid that if I would actually make art my main income I would start to hate that I was forced to make art. I heard this quote once that rings true especially for me, which goes something along the lines of "People would rather doing anything except what they are supposed to do."
    Knowing that I might come to hate art kind of softens the blow that it's not my main source of income.

    I love it as a hobby. I love comparing my drawings to older ones and seeing the improvement. I feel proud when I go to a live drawing class and notice my drawings are ahead of the others in the group. I feel proud that I have a skill (I say skill not talent, because I believe anyone can learn to draw) that few others do in my immediate environment. You are right that there are enormous amounts of artists, but that is because you look for them. On places like CA.org artists from all over the world gather, but compare it to the global population and you get a pretty small group. Look in your immediate environment and see who can do what you do. I only wish there was more time in a day to draw and that I would improve faster.

    Something I've learned though, is that in the span of our lifetime we can live several lives. There are milestones in our lives that give us a completely new direction and changes our lives drastically. And in that sense I understand when people say it's never too late. So when you say you wish you had done this and that, just go ahead and do it. Change it now. You can look back on your past and wish you had done things differently or you can take it as a lesson and do better from now on.

    And finally something to depress you or perk you up: Anything we do is insignificant. At some point in the future mankind will utterly destroy itself and anything we will have done or not have done will be forgotten. So noone will care about your biggest achievements or biggest failures.

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    Wow. This thread really woke me up.

    At 22 years old, I thought I was at a major disadvantage starting art this "late" in my life.

    Now I realize that i'm an idiot. Even though I essentially wasted the last 8 years of my life living on the internet and playing online video games, I still have a long life ahead of me, and at 22 most people are still training for their career anyway so I didn't miss the boat by any means.

    Still, I wish I could get those 8 years back. I have absolutely nothing to show for it except an acute sense of internet humor and a cynical, sarcastic demeanor.

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    @Justin: Man! Sorry to hear about your troubles. Had similar issues in part of my life, when I was younger. Fortunately, I'm extremely optimistic and was able to resolve my issues.

    In terms of art, I can also understand about not wanting to do art. When life is in turmoil around you, people tend to focus on everything going on, rather than the stuff that they enjoy. However, in my opinion, the main thing that you have to understand is "why you draw or paint in the first place"? I'm assuming that you just like to do it. Some people do art to impress others and say "Hey, Look! I'm talented". Other's do it for the money. Other's just do it because they love the way that they can make their visions become visible (that's me).

    Art, for me, started out as a hobby because I enjoyed it. However, after I realized that people were paying me a lot of money for my paintings, it became a business. I have a plan for the business and I know where the direction of my art and how to market/sell it.

    I say "Follow your dreams!" That's the stuff that make life enjoyable. Following your dreams does not mean that you have to give up everything to be obsessive about it. It means that you have to be smart and determine what risks you are willing to accept and how much work you are willing to do. Also, it means perseverance.

    A basic rule that I've always followed: "There are a ton of people better than me. There are a ton of people worse than me. So what! I will do the best that I can do, improve myself to do better (if I'm not happy about it). " I don't worry about what other people are doing unless it affects me.

    @Tritan: I wouldn't consider what you did a waste of time. I spent many years playing on the internet and playing games. I learned more about computer hardware configuration playing computer games than writing software. I learned more about creating interesting paintings and color theory and a whole host of other topics from surfing the web for years.

    Dougie

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    I've started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil and I don't think I'll ever stop. I won't bore you with my school life, but it was many years of being fed misinformation and being allowed to fester because nobody taught me that tracing was a crutch that would cripple me (I pulled myself out of that trap eventually).

    Going to "art" college was a waste as well. All I learned was how people took the most despicable shortcuts and how they just copied celeb pictures, or ripped off existing work just to get a good grade.

    I'm still drawing now and expanding my visual vocab. It's also my only form of therapy to deal with almost-crippling depression that I've struggled with for 10 years. But I'm glad that people like my work enough to pay for it, even if it's not anything super awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Reed View Post
    I'm 35 years old, getting really close to 36, and I've been trying to become a professional artist and writer for about 15 years now and I've failed. I've failed horribly. Sure, I've done a lot of work locally (t-shirt designs, tattoo designs and such) and made a few bucks here and there, but I never succeeded in doing anything professional. My whole life, I've dreamed of writing screenplays and illustrating graphic novels and designing video games but I never made it. I tried. I sent out artwork and story synopses to scores of game companies, producers and comic publishers that accept unsolicited work but to no avail. I wrote and illustrated a little book that I couldn't do anything with. I spent six months illustrating a comic book for nothing. No one would even look at it. I tried to get some friends together to make a movie once, but all we did was talk. I was the only one that actually did something, but I couldn't do it all by myself so nothing got made.

    The fact is that there are simpy far too many atists in the world, all fighting for the same jobs. There are too many writers. Too many athelets. Too many musicians. I bet in high school, there was a guy that was amazing at basketball or football and everyone thought he was going to go pro, but he didn't, did he? Everyone knows someone that's in a band and they may be really talented, but they'll probably never get that record deal. There's just too many bands out there all fighting to get listened to. There once was a time when a talented nobody could make it big, but those days are gone. The internet killed it.

    In the last couple of years, my mom died, one of my uncles died, three of my friends died, five of my dad's cats died (I watched two of them go and had to bury them both), and one of my younger brothers got a brain tumor (thankfully cured). All that death and near-death got me really thinking about my life. On top of all that, this year, my friend's oldest daughter, whom I've know since she was a day old, is graduating from high school this year. My hair is starting to turn gray. My legs are starting to hurt. I threw my back out flipping my neice around one day. I'm starting to feel old. All that has me really assessing my life at this point.

    When I look back at the last fifteen years, I truly feel like I wasted them trying to be an artist. I don't even like drawing anymore. I used to love it. I used to live for it. I used to spend days, even weeks on an illustration and when I was done, I would be filled with a sense of pride. Now, I feel like I've just wasted days of my life that I'll never get back. I feel drained and crushed. Not long ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who's a tattoo artist and I told him I hated being an artist. I hated having a talent. People have often told me that they wished that they could draw and I always replied "Why?". It's a curse. I see people living normal lifes, working the same job day after day, year after year yet they are perfectly content to do so. I can't do it. I was born to create. The longest I've ever worked the same job was four and half years and I hated every day of it. My head is full of ideas for movies and books and video games and I long to get them out of my head and into the world, but I can't and I most likely never will. Breaking into any industry these days is like winning the lottery. The odds of making it are astronomical.

    When I had jobs, I was miserable because I wanted to be creating something. When I'm not working, I'm miserable because I'm creating things, but they're pointless. I've done well over a hundred illustrations, but so what? I've gained nothing for it. I've just lost untold hours of my life, sitting in front of a computer screen or a sketchpad, not to mention all the money I've spent on ink and paper and paint and printers and scanners and art programs and tablets. I'm poor and I have no health insurance and I live in the same crappy town I graduated high school from, a town I couldn't wait to get out of. The front end of my car has been smashed for years and I can't afford to fix it. I had a decent job once, but I hated it and one day I quit in a fit of rage. I was miserable at that job. I dreaded going to work every day. I gave it up to follow my dreams. The problem is that I never made my dreams come true. Now, instead of being miserable with a lot of money and health insurance, I'm miserable and broke. Those people that say "Follow your dreams! You can make it! You can be anything you want to be!" are full of shit.

    So, in the end, my advice is to keep your day job and just keep art as a hobby. I wish I'd done that. I wish I'd lived a real life instead of sitting in front of a computer screen drawing stupid pictures. I keep thinking about all the things in life that I've never done. All the places I never went to. Time is the most precious thing you have because it's the one thing you never get back and I pissed most of my time away.
    Really sorry to hear that you are filled with so much regret. Are you sure that you genuinely hate being an artist, though? Otherwise why would you be on an art forum like this?

    I disagree that it's a curse, though. I think it's a curse if you let it consume your life in a negative way. But no one ever said you had to take your art and dominate the world with it.

    Either way it does sound like you are harboring a lot of bitterness and that is really sad to see someone go through something like that. You gotta find a release somehow, however you do it. I'd tell you drop what you are doing and take a vacation to somewhere you have never been, but it seems like you've already decided to wallow in your misery a bit.

    Hope you find a way out.

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  36. #22
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    I put in 40 years in a scientific/technical field, retired from that and have taken up fine art as a second career. I didn't start painting until I was in my mid forties. I am now 66. What category does that put me in? You folks in your 20s and 30s have the greatest advantage and gift of all - time! Yes, my mortgage is paid and my children are grown, but the clock is ticking, and doing so loudly.

    Just do it! If you need a regular job to buy shoes for the kids, then paint in the evenings. There are as many ways to make your mark in the world as there are people.

    I plan to put another 40 years into my art and then change careers again! Maybe bull riding!

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  38. #23
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    Hey Ed!

    I'm in the same boat as you! I've got 25 years in as a scientist/sofware engineer. Now, in my mid-40's and working hard to be an artist (while still working as a software engineer). Plan to keep working hard selling my paintings until I retire and then I can teach/sell paintings full-time.

    Painting in the evenings and the weekend is the way to go for me. Get home from work, eat dinner, then get to work on my art. No better life!

    Dougie

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    I got out of the military back in '04, thinking of pursuing a different field as a civilian.

    But, life happened and one thing led to another and crap hits the fan. I have to say that from '05 - '10 were pretty much a turbulent point in my life so far. I was so preoccupied with things that it nearly took me this long to unf*ck the whole mess.

    I'm glad that 2011 is looking good for me but with my GI Bill going to expire soon, I decided that I will pursue a degree in Fine Arts since I love to draw... sure, I'm taking a gamble with this instead of getting a degree in Int'l Affairs and work in the US Gov't and play it "safe".

    I dunno, I guess I just don't want to have any regrets when I kick the bucket that's why I want to pursue this field. You'll see me more and more in this forum as I level up in my art-fu, haha. Once I get my sh!t going this May, I will talk to a VA rep in the school that I'm going.

    Oh yea, I'm 32 btw and working at a wine cellar/warehouse/room in one of the hotels here in Vegas. Not too bad: 10 hours a day. 4 days on, 3 days off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Hoppes View Post
    Hey Ed!

    I'm in the same boat as you! I've got 25 years in as a scientist/sofware engineer. Now, in my mid-40's and working hard to be an artist (while still working as a software engineer). Plan to keep working hard selling my paintings until I retire and then I can teach/sell paintings full-time.

    Painting in the evenings and the weekend is the way to go for me. Get home from work, eat dinner, then get to work on my art. No better life!

    Dougie
    GO DOUGIE, GO!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Reed View Post
    There once was a time when a talented nobody could make it big, but those days are gone. The internet killed it.
    I disagree. The Internet is powerful. It can make even an overrated nobody make it big. Justin Bieber proves this.

    Last edited by Jie Kageshinzo; March 23rd, 2011 at 12:15 AM.
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    I'm similar to you in that I'm in my thirties and work in a totally unrelated career (unrelated to art). I work in IT which is another passion of mine. I guess you can say I have two mistresses, one is IT the other is art.

    It was this site that got me inspired to start drawing almost 2 years ago. Basically I started from zero because my past experience with art was minimal. I currently don't have any goals in regards to an artistic career/job. Rather I'm enjoying drawing and painting as a serious hobby. I'm not good enough to do otherwise anyways!

    I wish I could devote 8+ hours a day to art but right now that just isn't realistically feasible. The reality is that there are bills to pay, art supplies to buy and art instruction to pay for as well.

    I feel like I am able to do art often enough that I am seeing improvement, although slowly, which keeps me motivated (but not content!). Sometimes it is a struggle because I may come home from work tired or other things in life take a priority over it such as time with loved ones. I feel like I have to keep doing the art thing for personal fulfillment but also need to spend time with loved ones for fulfillment as well. I guess it's a balancing act. Someone once said (on these forums I think) that anything you put your energies toward requires sacrifice because when you choose to spend time doing something, anything else you are not doing is put aside. I find this to be true.

    Justin - Sounds like you've been through a lot. Please don't feel like all you've done has been a waste of time. Sounds like you have followed your passion and risked a lot. I commend you for this. It takes courage to take the hard road instead of the easy way out. Although money and a good job aren't everything in life, I understand that they certainly make life easier. Try and remember what drove you to this in the first place and try to rekindle that feeling. The hard truth is that one may never achieve their dreams even after years and years of hard work toward them. But in the end you tried (and can still try!) and pursue your goals. What was the alternative? Stay "safe" and be miserable? Having money or being poor, it doesn't matter if you are miserable.

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    PurpleGoat,

    Totally understand about spending time with the family and other responsibilities. I can usually spend about 10 to 15 hours per week doing my artwork.

    One of the things that helped me was to put my easel in the living room. As you can tell from the picture, it doesn't take up a lot of space. However, when I come home from work, I play with the dogs, cook dinner, and then I can hang out in the living room with the dogs and my wife. So, we talk while I paint.

    Initially, I had my easel in my studio, but, when I came home from work, really didn't feel like spending all of my time up there and not seeing my wife. So, we compromised. This setup lets me get my painting/drawing time in and time to spend with her and the dogs.

    Also, I specifically set aside Tuesday night for painting. Always. We work our schedule around this time. Since we don't have kids, it's much easier to do that.

    Dougie

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    The hardest thing about being an artist is when you know you can do something but the world/film, comic and game companies tell you you can't and then you see the level of work they do and know damn well you can hang with any of them but the doors are shut because you don't have a worthless art degree. Yes, they are worthless since every lesson any art school teaches can be found online FOR FREE!!!

    For me, it's hard to stay motivated when hacks like Rob Liefeld gets work and I don't. Even after making the rounds at every con I possibly can, I hear nothing back. It's hard enough just being an artist but having to contend with the ignorance of those who think they know better when maybe all they did was kiss ass to get where they are because the quality of many "professionals" leaves me scratching my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by t1118 View Post
    For me, it's hard to stay motivated when hacks like Rob Liefeld gets work and I don't.
    Rob Liefeld is an exception, a product of a very specific time and set of circumstances. The only reason he still gets work is because he made a name for himself. These days there are lots of artists who got work in the 90s who wouldn't be able to get work right now (if they were just starting out) because the competition is so much more fierce.

    And sadly, we kinda have a tendency to overestimate our own work. If art directors aren't biting, well, there's usually a reason. Maybe some artist won the lottery by being at exactly the right place in the exactly right time when some AD needed something NOW NOW NOW but you can't really expect that to happen to everybody.

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