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On a scale from one to hopeless, applying for jobs I feel vastly under-qualified for? I'm throwing my CV and portfolio out like crazy to a lot of smaller local art jobs (which I STILL feel like I'm savagely under-qualified for), but every now and again job sites will recommend things at big companies like Lucasfilm and Pixar.
Mostly I feel like a silly little kid with a stack of crayon drawings when I send in applications. Did you guys feel the same way? Am I going about this horribly wrong? I'm more than willing to pay my dues and slave away as lowest (wo)man on the totem pole, and I'm already pretty well-versed in swallowing rejection and pressing forward, but I'm a little shaky on my professional legs.
I'd appreciate all and any advice. I'm admittedly intimidated by the professional realm! Thanks for reading.
Last edited by Elwell; February 9th, 2013 at 02:58 PM.
To be brutally honest you just aren't good enough. In a time of major industry expansion when they'll hire anyone with a pulse you could get into a studio as an assistant, but that isn't now. In the current environment paying your dues is something you have to do on your own. No one will hire you until they can make money from your art without having to train you. You have to train yourself.
I'd say the art industry is tough, but it's the same for every decent career these days. Good luck, I hope you get there.
(ps- work on your perspective to start with)
I haven't seen your work, but I think there's a great deal of wisdom in knowing how you stack up against professional artists and whether you're ready to enter the industry on a level with them, and I think you already have that wisdom from the way you are describing your work. I wouldn't say you're going about it wrong exactly, as optimism and acceptance of rejection are both great things to have and there's always a chance you will find something, but if you feel you don't yet rival other professional artists your methods may not be realistic, in which case you may want to consider some other options. If you're a recent graduate from art school, they may have given you a rose-tinted view of what to expect upon graduation - unfortunately many don't educate students about how competitive the industry is. If you're determined to become a professional in the concept art field, unless you are unusually outstanding, you'll probably have to pay your dues not by starting your professional life at an assistant artist position, but by starting it in whatever other kind of job you can find so that you can make a living while you hone your art skills until they make people sit up and take notice. Until you have reached a standard you are proud of, putting your art out there can be a bad idea - you don't want your name to become associated with a nonprofessional standard of work, because it can be hard to shake that later. If you can find work which is tangentially related to your art, that's great. If you can't, you're still in good company! Unfortunately, as Atreides said, the market isn't currently a place where it's possible for most young artists to hop out of art school and into a full-time career, whether that is in-house or freelancing. There are always a few exceptional ones who do, but they don't represent the majority.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because professional experience in other areas will give you some additional weapons in your arsenal. For example, I worked in a customer service position for a few years because I couldn't find work as an artist when I graduated, which certainly wasn't what I had hoped to be doing, but I left not only with money and a better portfolio, but also with professional experience and the people skills and confidence to negotiate contracts and stand my ground in a professional environment. Without that I would probably have been on very shaky professional legs too. If you look at it as part of your training for your future career, it's not a bad way to fund your continuing art education.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't stay optimistic and apply for art jobs if you want to. Just be sure to evaluate your goals and the competition realistically and make the choices which will best help you grow into the professional you want to be, even if that means taking a longer route there than you hoped for.
Thanks all. I really do appreciate your input and honesty.
I'm absolutely aware of the strain the current market has. I've been applying to any vaguely applicable arts-related jobs. I hyperbolically stated some big companies in the original posting, but honestly my main target has been smaller mobile game start-ups. I'm not expecting much, but I figured I'd try on the off-chance that I get lucky.
I graduated 2011 with a BA in conceptually-based art and little direction, so the past year has been juggling multiple retail jobs and trying to find time to work on making things between them. I've been fortunate to land a few smaller art gigs, but I suppose the thought of being "stuck" in retail (as fantastic as pulling shots of espresso is), leaves me anxious to push forward.
I washed dishes after I graduated. There's no shame in doing non creative work, I like it actually ( but not as much as drawing). That other poster is right this is the time for you to build life experiences. Sounds corny, but you'll need it later on. Learn about zen, read some Kerouac and do something unexpected with your life. Life is short, make the most of it.