The truth will set you free,
but first it's gonna piss you off!
Doors are rarely shut in film, comic and game companies because you don't have a degree. Usually it has to do with not being ready/good enough yet, not being someone others want to work with, or hopefully just not matching up to what they're looking for at the moment.
And never compare your work to the lowest end crap - sure it's frustrating but there is nothing you can do about Liefeld having work. Best not to compare anyway as jrstebbins said, but it is a good idea to gauge your own work by the best out there and try to see what they're doing that you're not.
If someone tells you you need to improve your (fill in the blank) you damn well better listen. Nothing screams amateur more than a person who complains they're as good as a pro but they just haven't got the breaks.
that enabled me to take the 'attacks' as what they really were, friendly and generous advice.
I'm certainly not going to try to say that I'm even one percent down the road yet, but I feel like I now have the attitude and the support network to actually eventually become a big fish.
yes this is off topic forte thread, but it fits with the way the convo has been shifting.
sketches (not fully realized works here)
I must say, some of these stories here are quite inspiring! You "old geezers" sure do have a very clear way of seeing things. I guess it comes with time and experience...
There is one thing that`s chewing me up from inside, though...first of all, getting some praise here and still not feeling worthy of it. You know, that voice inside you that is always, constantly whispering "You have to get better. You have to be the best. This is a competition, no matter what they say. You know it." That annoying, mean little voice that just eats up all the joy of creating something and that triggers the "fear" of picking up a brush or a pencil. Kinda like me in these past 2 weeks...
But, not to digress further, here`s one other thing - safety? As in, financial safety. Sure, great artists are capable of supporting themselves with their art, but what is with us, "non-stellar" material folks? I`m really worried about starving (yea, I kinda like to eat, so that`s my main concern ), not being able to pay the bills, etc. Also - art is HARD WORK. For an average monthly "salary" an artist has to work a lot more than somebody with an average 9 to 5 job...right? I`m looking at some of freelancers here, and all they do is work, work, work, just to survive. That`s horrible. Do I really want to go down this path? Am I capable of going down this path? And how can I answer this one for myself?
Questions, questions, questions. I`m 26, and already I see everything in life as a big struggle. A war I`m destined to loose, even if I manage to win some battles. I`m sure this mindset has something to do with where I was born and grew up, but I need to break out of this mentality and way of thinking.
So..."old geezers" ...what am I missing here? What am I supposed to learn from all this?
P.S. Ok, I REALLY digressed here, sorry, but as it seems this thread is a mind cluster of more experienced people, I just had to use the opportunity.
Good questions...as an "old geezer", like I mentioned in another thread - you do begin to gain some insight maybe or at least start to see a lot of similarities between successful artists and peers and those that don't quite cut it. You get to occasionally hang out with the likes of Jim Gurney, Iain McCaig, Syd Mead, Scott Christensen, Matt Smith, etc. and just BS with them about stuff and hear their stories and wisdom (not to mention all the great friends you make - and how easy it is to impress the girls).
Things do become a little clearer in some respects as you develop and spend time as a professional, and to be honest, most of the time we are just trying to share what we know to be effective and help others avoid the same pitfalls we encountered...and things we either wish more experienced artists told us more clearly, or reflecting back, maybe we heard but didn't grasp.
All those observations you made are quite accurate...and I don't have much of an answer or wisdom to share. I don't think it is a war that you lose though...but it is a constant struggle to learn and grow and improve...there are very few (if any that I'm aware of) careers or disciplines that require so much constant growth and effort. Even musicians reach a certain level of ability and sort of plateu - sure they keep "in tune" and grow a bit depending on their interests but for the most part their struggle is different and more about "making it" and staying there than about their skill level.
So yeah, art is a bitch, and I don't mean that in a too funny way (some maybe), but DAMN she's a good lookin one! The only way to answer those questions for yourself is to head down that path...with a chainsaw and some high explosives.
Last edited by JeffX99; March 25th, 2011 at 12:25 AM. Reason: typo-no
Nothing sweeter than working 40 hours a week (with some PAID overtime occasionally) and getting back 20+ hours a week to work on your own artwork.
Actually, it's a mis-nomer to say that everybody but artists have to work the average 9 - 5 job. If you are professional, then there are no such things as a 9 - 5. As a software developer, most of my colleagues and I would work around 60 - 100 hours per week during our mid-20's to mid-40's. The reason was due to deadlines, too much work for too few people, and general chaos. Doctor's, lawyers, anyone starting their own business, etc... all work more than the typical 9 - 5.
Remember that art is a business like anything else. If you want to become successful at that business, you have to work at it. Constantly and throughout your entire career. I don't have the luxury of working 60 hours per week on my art work, but, I do work a lot (outside of my regular software development job). If you are going to be outstanding at ANY profession, then it is a matter of a lot of studying, experimentation, etc throughout your entire career.
Also, remember that you are always studying... no matter what you do. I still have to read a lot of books on programming/software development on my own time and do some coding on my own time (outside of the office).
The other thing that you find is that, as you get more experienced and better, you become more efficient. However, this also means that you are harder on yourself. What was acceptable 10 years ago is no longer acceptable now. The really good professionals push themselves to make sure that they do their best work.
I don't know many professional artists (fine art) who don't need to supplement their income in some fashion. Many of the serious fine artists teach, and this is one place where that art school degree really comes into play. You won't teach without it. Others own and manage art supply stores, and yet others own and manage galleries. They are all fully engaged in the world of art. They are just not necessarily putting paint on canvas 100% of the time. I have one art teacher who really enjoys teaching because he values the creative energy that comes out of the interaction between artists of all levels. He takes that energy back into his own work. His classes are his muse!
What was the question again?
The truth will set you free,
but first it's gonna piss you off!
There is no guarantees in this area other than yes, it is a lot of work. But the difference between busting your ass in the art industry and something like (random job that I would get my ass beat at) construction is that HOPEFULLY it is rewarding to you. Despite all the jaded game artists out there that might say otherwise, it is fun!But, not to digress further, here`s one other thing - safety? As in, financial safety. Sure, great artists are capable of supporting themselves with their art, but what is with us, "non-stellar" material folks? I`m really worried about starving (yea, I kinda like to eat, so that`s my main concern ), not being able to pay the bills, etc. Also - art is HARD WORK. For an average monthly "salary" an artist has to work a lot more than somebody with an average 9 to 5 job...right? I`m looking at some of freelancers here, and all they do is work, work, work, just to survive. That`s horrible. Do I really want to go down this path? Am I capable of going down this path? And how can I answer this one for myself?
I come to work every day and plop my butt down in a sweet chair, crack my heavy metal, sip my coffee, and model/texture things in 3D. Dude, that is FUN! It is also hard work, but it's not hard work that I complain about.
That said...yes, it took a lot of back-breakingly hard work to get there. You need to hurt and bleed and suffer to get what you want in life. If you want an easy life, then take the easy life, but in 30 years will you look back on yourself and ask why you didn't put forth just a WEE bit more effort?
I guess my biggest concern is financial. You certainly don't get into this industry for the money, but overall I believe illustration especially is grossly undervalued from what I've picked up from interviews and the like. At my skill level I'm expecting to be offered some stupidly low rates.
Justin Reed, I find your art lacking in some areas, I bet if you improved your portfolio to a level of lets say a craig mullins, Iain Mccaig etc... I'm sure your life would change. Be better than the best is all I have to say. You can be a master at 40 if you really work at it. The internet raised the bar thats all.
Wow. This has been one of the most informative and interesting threads I've read in a long time! I needed this. Thanks everyone.
What artist hasn't met their share of bumps and proverbial pot holes along their journey? Right now I'm just a college student balancing work and art projects, hoping to find small jobs in the games and comic industry. It can all be so overwhelming! I know pretty much exactly what I want to do, but I just need to find the people/publishers that work in anime style. And it's really hard since my Fine Arts school has a depressing lack of support for illustration and anyone pursuing that field. I guess the administration doesn't want their fine art school to be 'cheapened' by having a low art form degree availiable. If only my state didn't have only one art school.
And I have to ask anyone reading this that has made it as an artist...once you get published, does it really make it that much easier? I keep hearing the phrase over and over from other artists "getting your foot in the door", almost like it's some sort of promised land. I know it looks good on a resume, but wouldn't they look for talent more than just your track record, so to speak?
Switching gears in mid-life ain't nothin! My dad switched from woodworking to a career doing industrial design and 3D modeling in his late 50s, early 60s - and he was barely computer-savvy before that.
If I recall, he crunched on a few courses, crunched on some more advanced courses, stayed up all night practicing and studying a lot, and networked like mad. Now he's raking in the ID jobs and making a name for himself... People ask him to teach 3D workshops already and he only started learning 3D a few years ago!
So I'd say anything is possible. Go for it.
i dont know if i would characterize myself as a "success story" but i do have a job in the entertainment industry now at age 36, and i spent my twenties and early thirties working as an optical engineer for Boeing on a defense contract for the USAF.
it is possible, but it is also incredibly difficult. even when you think youve finally made it, you realize you havent.
depends on what you want though. if you just want any entertainment industry career, its not that impossible. if you want some creative freedom within this industry, its f'ing hard.
anyway, i never mean to rain on anyone's parade. you can do it, and it is worth it. but it's like loving someone who's getting treated for cancer. you were happier before the diagnosis, and there are impossibly dramatic mood swings while fighting to survive. but you come out the other side with a new appreciation for it and a kind of love that's impossible to break. sounds romantic, right? it takes a total commitment, and you won't realize just how much you have to give until you're in the middle of it.
quite frankly, you won't make it to the other side until you find that inexhaustible source within you. and even then, the process will take a chunk out of your ass. the trick really is learning to love your life and what you do under sone of the most difficult circumstances possible. and the scary thing is when you realize that that's just art job stuff and there literally are life changing experiences out there. it's very humbling. learning to draw wasnt as hard as watching my mom get paralyzed by a stroke. wasnt as hard as watching my uncle die from aids either.
so, especially to those who say they're already as good as the pro's... stay humble. life's not a linear process so just keep working at it. the urge to be good at this stuff and create is universal, but the opportunity is not.
ccsears' mentoring thread--Lesson 1. Pen and Ink, hatching
ccsears' mentoring thread--Lesson 2. Reilly's Head Abstraction Notes & Discussion
some threads i've been following and some people i met along the way:
Tensai *** Mike Butkus' SB *** Bhanu *** Wanimal *** AztcFireFlwr