I realized the other day that I get quite a few notes with really great questions. Some of the information seemed like it would be useful to others so I figure I would share a handful of them on occasion. The names have been removed and some of the notes have been edited down from the original.
Q: Do you agree with quote that talent is 1% and time spent on drawing, and practicing it is 99%? Q: Seeing as you are a professional, I thought you'd be a good person to talk to. I see you have a BA in Studio Art, but focus primarily on conceptual illustration. I was wondering if you could help me out with some questions?
A: It's really hard to quantify something like the percentage of talent vs practice when it comes to the quality of your final drawing. I see talent as something more interwoven into someone's ability rather than a "gift" that automatically makes them have a higher degree of skill. For example, someone may grasp an artistic concept faster than others or they might have a better feel for spatial reasoning but they may struggle with other things like color temperature or brush work.
Artwork itself is a multifaceted skill set and there are opportunities within every pocket to have talent. You might be adept at anatomy, or lighting, etc but all of these things will require that you practice them since nothing comes without a degree of effort. You may excel in any number of these things faster than your peers and they might interpret that as talent.
I don't think anybody is just born with the ability to draw like a master. How fast you can achieve your goals will differ from person to person but the bottom line is that it all requires practice, repetition, and a passion to improve.
- For any art degree, would an Associate's degree limit my job opportunities in the future? Obviously a Bachelor's is better, but in the art field, does it matter which one you have?
- Does getting a degree in a certain field of art limit you specifically to that area of expertise?
- Did you know exactly what you wanted to do when you were in school?
A: I'd say having a degree in art is pretty critical for your future career endeavors. The debatable part of it is whether you get it from a University/College or from a technical school. I think it might be worthwhile to consider getting an AA first then going to finish your degree in a technical school. It might be more economically sound and you'll get the same sort of comprehensive education that you'll need for the field.
Art is a pretty competitive field, so any program that gets you closer to having a relevant portfolio or reel is going to make you a better candidate when it comes to your interviews. Pick a school that prioritizes getting you closer to the kind of work you'd do in your career. I see a lot of schools sort of ushering artists through their degrees in a way that doesn't actually prepare them for real world careers.
Despite how important an education/degree is, it's still pretty much a bullet point on your resume to most interviewers. The strongest part of your submission to any job will be your portfolio so make sure you prioritize your relevancy to the field, technical abilities, and how you market yourself as an artist.
I did an interview with a number of other professional artists on the question "Should You Become a Professional Artist?". It has a lot of great answers to similar questions:
Should You Become a Professional Artist?Community Week
Do you enjoy art passionately and are considering doing it as your job, but have some worries such as;
Will I enjoy it as much as a job?
Will it be hard getting a job?
Will I become a starving artist?
If you're like me, you're asking yourself those questions and are letting them give you a hard time deciding whether or not to pursue art professionally. My health teacher told me, as we digressed from our topic of smoking, that to know whether or not you want to do a job, you have to hear what it's like from someone who's already doing it. That's why I decided to do an interview with professional artists on dA to give me, and hopefully many others, answers to these burning questions and an idea of what it's like to be a professional artist.
Okay, well let's get to it then
This is quite long so if you'd like to jump to a section, here are the questions I aske
Q: I wonder if you would take the time to tell me how you got to where you are now? How did you gain your popularity? How did you and your art grab the attention of so many people? Is there any advice you could give to another dedicated yet less experienced artist?
A: Unfortunately, I wish there was something more formulaic about art exposure but of course if there was an easy way, everyone would be popular XD
It took me 9 years on deviantART to achieve my first 100,000 page views (in September 2012). I had worked hard over the years to make lots of drawings, improve, and reach out to people. Despite all of that effort, it was a single drawing that brought me more exposure in a single week than I had in 9 years. My Grumpy Cat Little Mermaid drawing.
It's funny how life can throw you a curve ball you weren't expecting but that's the joy of the unknown. If there's one thing I think I learned from my experience, it's that you never quite know what the future holds.
If I can boil down my evaluation of my own artistic path to some bullet points, here is that list:
1. Open yourself to all social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, etc. Don't limit yourself at all. You may become popular in one place and that popularity will spread. Each social media entity has its own age groups, interests, focuses, and what have you. If you limit yourself, you might be missing out on the audience that would have been interested in your art.
2. Show your followers that you appreciate them. Nobody likes an aloof and lofty artist that distances themselves from their fans and the people who want to learn from them. They want to feel appreciated also so let them know that you are paying attention to their comments and their favorites.
3. Show your process. The more intimate you are with your followers, the more "human" you are. People like to know how artists create their work. It shows that there IS hard work there and that it's not magic. They will appreciate you for being a person that grew and improved.
4. Crosslink your drawings. Put your social media links in your comments. Put thumbnails of your other relevant art in the deviation description. I was really surprised how effective this was at giving exposure to some of my older artwork to my new followers.
5. Examine the interest of your followers. This is always a delicate balance of doing what you want and responding to the want of your followers. It's easy to get wrapped up in fan service and lose your identity and own desires to the horde but it's also a good way to make sure you keep people hooked on your artwork.
Thanks for all of your great questions! If people are interested in this, I'll do them more often. I've also had people invite me to comment on their WIPs and finished drawings. If you're interested in having your artwork displayed with a critique on my journal, shoot me a note that says you're OK with me showing your drawing here