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  1. #1
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    When can you say that you are at a professional level?

    Imagine you are a beginner, you never worked on a paid commission. You open your "Finished Illustrations" folder, you look at your stuff and you say:
    -Yeah, I'm ready to roll.
    So you go ahead and make a portfolio. Then you start emailing every art director you ever heard about.
    My point is: how do you know that you are good enough for it? It would be nice too if some of you could post your first paid work for a studio.

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    Compare your work to current working professionals. If you can't see a major skill difference then send out the portfolio. Worst case scenario you don't get any response and now you know that you need to get better. Best case you get some work.

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    "Complacency is the womb of mediocrity. " -- Jason Manley

    "If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." -- Bruce Lee
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  4. The Following User Says Thank You to Andrew Sonea For This Useful Post:


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    when you are at a level where you are paid a supportable income for your artwork

    Never Attempt the Possible;attempt the impossible and even if you fail,you'll fall among the stars.
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    There's a couple of things you can do. See how many people follow your work and likes it. Facebook is a PERFECT place for that. If other professionals pay attention to your work and your like count is reaching pretty high numbers, you can start to think that you might actually get somewhere with your work. Also, like previously mentioned - compare. Also most likely, when you're good enough the clients will start coming to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by FootstepsBeckon View Post
    when you are at a level where you are paid a supportable income for your artwork
    Make a habit of not only reading titles.

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    Yeah, I think that comparison is the best way, thanks for the replies.

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    When you post your work on forums, and working professionals ask you: So,where are you working, anyway?

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ConnyNordlund: I'll tell you one thing that I and others posting on facebook have experienced first hand.
It doesn't matter if you get 15 likes or 500 likes. Likes do not save lives, nor do they pay your bills. They help a lot for getting exposure, which may or may not result in you getting a new gig or connecting with someone, which in turn might make you a professional, but it's still kind off hit/miss, especially if you aren't top-top-tier within your field.

I see people you'd never hire making shit,crap,far below average art that gets 100+ likes, and I see _real_ professionals barely hitting the 50 likes mark.

If anything, what getting more "likes" on an image does for me, is tons of random people adding me and random people constantly asking me questions.

You are a professional if you act professional as well as live up to the definition of supporting yourselves from making art. You can support yourselves by making tiles and textures. Things that won't necessarily generate 500+ likes on facebook.

Comparing yourselves to artists to see what LEVEL you're at is perfectly fine and is what OP should be doing. It also helps to know what wages similarly skilled people make and what you can expect realistically to be attractive when bidding for freelance jobs.

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    When you worry more about the check arriving on time to pay the rent than you do about whether you could have done "that one finger there..." a bit more gracefully...

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Sonea View Post
    Compare your work to current working professionals. If you can't see a major skill difference then send out the portfolio. Worst case scenario you don't get any response and now you know that you need to get better. Best case you get some work.
    ^ This.. No, seriously..

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  • #10
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    Comparing never works. There are professionals whose work sucks according to other better professionals but who are getting paid. Do you want to compare your work to that? Or compare it to Brom, Manchess etc, you'll never be a pro. You will know you are a pro when you don't care if you call yourself a pro. Get feedback. Go to cons and get in line with art directors and have other people whose work you respect give you advice.

    And finally the last word about comparing is; if you can't tell if your work is professional how are you going to compare it? What magical standards will you use? Everyone's work is so different the best advice is to get good advice.

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    I see this question about one on integrity. Do you think you are good enough?Are you in it for the fame? Is your life ready for this (maybe there is something else that ought to have priority). I think it's great if you are able to make money or even a living from art and I would like to myself, but I always had in mind I don't want to be part of further deflation of the quality in the art industry.But then again I made my life harder then it needs to be. So if you think you are ready go for it!

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    Thanks for all the replies

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  • #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    Comparing never works. There are professionals whose work sucks according to other better professionals but who are getting paid. Do you want to compare your work to that? Or compare it to Brom, Manchess etc, you'll never be a pro. You will know you are a pro when you don't care if you call yourself a pro. Get feedback. Go to cons and get in line with art directors and have other people whose work you respect give you advice.

    And finally the last word about comparing is; if you can't tell if your work is professional how are you going to compare it? What magical standards will you use? Everyone's work is so different the best advice is to get good advice.
    Well, that's why you don't look at the work of only two or three extremely well known artists. I look at comic art, I look at Magic: The Gathering cards, I look at Anime and Manga, I look at traditional illustrations, I look at art books. I then compare my work to the work I've seen in those places. I compare it to the people I know HAVE to be getting paid.

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

    The usual staples for anatomy:
    George Bridgman
    Joseph Sheppard
    Andrew Loomis
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  • #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitnrun View Post
    Well, that's why you don't look at the work of only two or three extremely well known artists. I look at comic art, I look at Magic: The Gathering cards, I look at Anime and Manga, I look at traditional illustrations, I look at art books. I then compare my work to the work I've seen in those places. I compare it to the people I know HAVE to be getting paid.
    HAVE to be getting paid is the lowest common denominator of professional. But again if you can't read your own work how can you compare? To me compare is a very specific act and it's impossible to get specific with all the different things you listed. The original question is one we have all asked or will ask but there is never, at least in my experience, that one aha moment. 30 seconds ago I was an amateur and now I'm a pro. Some of our moments may be easier to define, as in one job that got things started, but most just sort of ease into be a professional.

    So my point is if you have the tools to compare your work to another's then those same tools should tell you if you are doing good work or not. So for me it's not as much comparing as it is understanding.

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  • #15
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    I disagree with Bill on this. A professional is one who makes their living from the profession. That said it isn't a good measure of quality but more a measure of tenacity. I do think words have meanings though and you can't claim to be a doctor or lawyer or even a plumber if you don't make your living as one so why is art any different? Plenty of room to suck at those jobs and still have it as your profession.

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  • #16
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    Sounds like we might agree a little Armand. The level of pro comment had to do with comparing work not being a good measure of being professional. All my comments were directed at comparisons not working in calling oneself a pro. Making money or a living is actually the only tangible measure of calling oneself a pro.

    The problem in defining it solely as making a living is that there are many levels of making a living. I can live on the street and do drawings of tourists and make just enough to feed myself and drink beer and be called a pro. So hustle then would define pro and not quality? An interesting discussion but I don't think it's all that black and white in my head. I worked full time as a security guard for years but would never call myself a professional law enforcement guy. Maybe at the time technically you could cal me that but I never felt like I was a pro. Anyway, black and white definitions are too easy for CA.

    Last edited by bcarman; June 11th, 2013 at 11:26 AM.
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    I think dpaint is right and 'pro' refers to a way of making living, but bears no measure of quality.
    Professionals do have a certain job acceptance standard, but in such a subjective business like this one, that really doesn't mean much, if anything.
    However, a distinction must be made between profession and vocation.
    One can be a painter by vocation, but not by profession and the other way around.

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