Life as a visual artist: what I’ve learned and experienced so far.

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Beside playing silly video-games and reading comics, I draw illustrations in my free time. Honestly, “artist” is a pretty big word for someone like me, but for the sake of readability I will use it. Ever since I was a tiny wee fella I loved scribbling and doodling. I did it all the time. I got in trouble so many times for drawing on walls, on important documents and old photos. But I had never imagined that I’d spend a good part my life as a visual “artist”. That’s why, in this article I will tell you some facts about the “artist life”
One of my drawings, July 2018

HOW AND WHY IT ALL STARTED

We have to admit, all kids draw things when they are young. So did I, it was something normal. But as we grow older, we see how the time we spend on drawing (or creating stuff) gets tinier and tinier. I still remember how through my elementary and middle school years I’d draw anime-inspired stuff. It was a little bit cringey, but hey, that was my starting point. In 4th grade I had admired someone and tried so hard to impress them. It was a puppy crush. That person was older than me, but they liked my drawings. So I kept drawing over and over again. When we lost contact after my freshman year in high school I stopped drawing for a little while.
One of my paintings from August 2020
One of my drawings from 4th grade, a comparison
My determination came back when I got my first (and actual) graphic tablet in June, 2017. I didn’t need to buy paper, colored pencils, watercolors, brushes. I didn’t need to clean up the mess that I had created. All the colors, brushes and canvas were on my laptop. At first I couldn’t even draw a straight line, yet it was so interesting! I couldn’t stop drawing. Little by little I improved. Many of my former acquaintances weren’t too supportive. However, with my parents’, friends’ and relatives’ help, my self esteem (not only in arts) grew more and more.

TALENT VS. WORK: IS IT WORTH IT? IS IT FRAUD?

I will be as objective as possible here. It’s not worth it if you don’t like it. There is so much time, effort and passion put in this. Not only me, but countless artists sacrifice so much time into this. And the response to all of this work is not always positive, unfortunately. From weird, offensive requests and insults to the classic: “the computer does all the work”. Imagine working on something so many years just to hear some people saying that your brush, your computer, your microphone, your needles do everything. And no, people, the computers DO NOT draw our illustrations. Behind the stylus and desktop there is a human being putting effort, creating every line, move, action. Everything. And while it seems radical, I think that people who don’t believe in us, digital artists, should not enjoy our work, our animated movies, designs, illustrations, nothing.
One of my paintings, March 2019
Another thing that gets on my nerves (though, not as much as the previous one) is the word “talent”. So, so many people think that talent is a divine gift or some lucky asset. In reality, I associate “talent” with “skill”. And “skill” is the result of a really simple equation that people tend to forget: time + effort = skill. There is no “talent genes” or godly gifts involved in this. However, the true game-changer is passion. You rarely succeed and keep on persuading things if you don’t enjoy and invest in them.

THE BEST PART AND THE CONCLUSION?

So far, being an artist seems like a pretty tiring and boring thing to do, right? Well, it is tiring sometimes, yet it’s never been boring for me! The feeling of creating something from scratch is refreshing. The sensation when you see the end result is priceless. Sometimes it might not look exactly how you wanted to be. That’s normal; however, looking back at your improvement over the time is indescribable. I become more and more confident whenever I see my old drawings and cringe. That’s the proof I improved!
One of my favourite commissions, November 2020
I opened my commissions in September, this year, for the first time. To my surprise, 98% percent of the people that commissioned me are amazing persons. Some of them became regulars and drawing them and/or their characters is so fun! And their reactions are incredibly wholesome. If last year I drew only 17 drawings, this year I drew over 40 illustrations! From realistic portraits, to stylized full body illustrations, I drew them all. And I’m still drawing them. I thought that there was no hope in the art industry. For more than half of my life I thought being a visual artist just a silly hobby. But man, it is way more than that! 
One of my paintings, July 2020
The number of artists is growing, and so it’s the artist community. I don’t regret one single minute spent on drawing. It’s so fulfilling to have a passion. For me, drawing, painting and arts in general are now more than a hobby. They became my obsession, my drug and a defining part of me, as a whole. Maybe life as a visual artist is not the best for some people. But for me, this remains the flame that lights up my world. So, what are your thoughts? Would YOU pursue a career in arts? Or at least, try it as a hobby?

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