So you want to be an artist? Then… Draw!

I just attended the Artist as Brand workshop put on by Greg Spalenka and it was pretty freakin’ sweet. One of the biggest things he talked about regarding putting yourself out there and connecting with other artists and fans was a blog. I have always wanted to have one, but could never think of what to draw. I don’t know why, but for some reason yesterday, as he spoke about the importance of a website and blog, a ton of blog topics started slamming into my brain. I wrote them all down, and then I searched Google for more interesting blog topics. By the time I put my pen down, I had 4 pages of blog topics! So, I want to get my blog started and have a purpose for it.

This year was the first time I had my own table at a convention or show. I started out with an Artist Alley table at Spectrum, and it was not only extremely fun, it connected me with a ton of people who were aspiring, struggling, or interested artists. I heard a lot of “I wish…” or “I would love to…” or “I dabble…” and I wanted to push those people down into a chair and convince them they absolutely CAN if they truly want to join the ranks of what they view as unreachable Artists. The idea that I was one of those artists that they felt were in the place they wanted to be was amazing to me. Who am I? I’m a new artists in this industry, having just landed my first professional illustration gig with a trading card company!

I want to connect even further with those fledgling artists. I won’t use the term “young artist” because while some of those artists were quite young, a few of them still in high school, a large number of them were adults with full time jobs. Age has nothing to do with where you are as an artist.

Here’s a secret I have discovered over the last few years of my journey to become a freelance illustrator: Nobody is ever good enough. No artist ever starts out immediately awesome, getting hired off the bat by the big hitters like Blizzard and Wizards of the Coast.

What do professional athletes do in order to be picked up by their respective League? They train. Well, as it turns out, artists have to train too! This doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a formal art education, either. You can actually construct your own education based on your interests and where you want your art to take you, by ferreting out the artists you like and learning from them. There are countless tutorials, numerous workshops, and literally hundreds (if not more) artists willing to show you the way.

In future┬áblog posts, I intend┬áto share some of the many resources available to any artist, regardless of skill level, who are seeking to improve their art. Whether it be to get hired as a freelancer or to improve as an industry professional, these workshops, tutorials, and how-to’s can probably help you. The bottom line is this: YOU have to do it. YOU have to put in the work. YOU have to carve out the time in your busy schedule to put pen to paper or brush to canvas or stylus to tablet. And you can, if you believe you can.