This is something I have always wondered about successful and professional artists. I wonder how they managed to effectively juggle full-time "regular" jobs while practising and building up their portfolios on the side before "making" it?
I went to art school but eventually dropped out for various reasons as the money invested in it wasn't justifying the teaching and resources I was paying for. I have now moved back home - I am very fortunate though as I have a super supporting mum who has allowed me to only work part-time so that I have the free-time to build up my portfolio.
I hear of other artists such as Brad Rigney (CryptCrawler) who also only worked part-time while his parents helped support him in order for him to find the time to build his portfolio.
I realise though not everyone gets such an opportunity and they have to live in the scary real world where you have to work 9-5 five days a week. I honestly wonder how they do it?
Whenever I work a full 8-9 hour shift at work I am much too tired to draw when I return home haha!
Either way, serious respect to any artist who does that heh!
It would be great to hear feedback from both professional working artists and those artists who like me are still on their journey
Last edited by SallyJackson; April 20th, 2011 at 06:34 PM.
Supportive parents is a key the majority of the time, I would wager. That and motivation and lack of distraction.
When I was in high school, I had a little part time job for spare change at a pizza hut, but most of my free time was spent drawing. I had friends and we went to go see a flick every now and then but I didn't have a girlfriend or do the party thing in HS at all (by choice). It just didn't make sense at the time.
In art school, I obviously spent all of my time doing art, so that was simple enough. Again, had a part time job, but no other distractions like relationships or socializing all the time. Enough to be human, of course, not a total social reject, but it was all mostly just me and my roommates hanging out.
Then after art school, I stayed with my mom for 6 months until my loans started up. That was the deal. 6 months to bust ass, make a solid portfolio, and find work. And as it turns out that's exactly what happened and I got my first salaried industry job at age 20.
So as hard as it is to say this...."working an 8-9 hour job" is obviously going to present a hurdle that may be difficult to leap over. You can either leap over the hurdle (go to work, deal with the tiredness, learn to operate on minimal sleep) or destroy the hurdle (find someone who loves you and will support your dream, allowing you to quit the obstacle).
The trick is always finding the time and everyone has different ways of solving it. Not everyone will even be able to do so if they do not have a support structure around them and MUST work a fulltime job. But if you hate that fulltime job enough, you just gotta push through it and find the time somehow. Lunchbreak, busride, in the morning during breakfast...whatever.
On a side note...just don't take the added frustration of having to work 2 jobs (life + potential life) out on your loved ones. They are the ones that might be able to help you someday.
ahh... the classic dilemma for a lot of artists. Okay, for me, it's a simple matter of defining myself: Am I a professional or a hobbyist? There's nothing bad about either one. However, as a professional (which I consider myself), I don't have the luxury of just painting whenever I want. I have obligations and need to meet them.
Personally, my schedule is pretty busy: Monday - Friday, I work from 7 - 4. By the time that I get home, feed the dogs, have dinner ready for my wife, and do miscellaneous chores, it's usually about 7:00. I usually go to bed around 10:00 (so that I can get around 6 - 7 hours of sleep... otherwise, way too tired to do my normal daytime job as a software developer). Plus, on Thursday nights, I take my dogs for agility training, Friday night, I have date night with my wife and Saturday's we run the errands that need to be done (groceries, etc)... and this doesn't take into account when I have to work a lot of hours at work.
So, the trick is scheduling. Tuesday nights, I study with someone to learn oil painting. My usual week is: Monday nights (4 hours painting), Tuesday night (3 hours painting), Wednesday night (3 hours painting), Saturday night (4 hours painting). That gives me around 14 - 15 hours of painting in a week. Sometimes, it's more. Sometimes it's less. Sometimes, I take a week off and do no artwork (to recharge my brain and get my energy back).
This leaves me plenty of time to spend time with my wife and the dogs. I also paint in my living room so that I can talk to my wife. Just being in the same room for conversations helps.
Since I sell my paintings at art fairs and shows, I don't have the luxury of not having any paintings. Plus, with oil paints, I need to make sure that the paintings are done and dried long before a show starts. So, I have to plan ahead. If I don't have enough paintings, my booth is empty and, most likely, no-one will stop by. Which means that I can kiss the $500 - $1000 for that weekend, goodbye. So, I have an incentive to make sure that I have a lot of really good paintings available. Also, I'm asked a number of times to show my paintings at a show or gallery. So, I need to have the inventory ready for that.
That's how I do it.
I started working in construction when I was 17...worked on my "art" when I could. Went to college for a graphic design degree and worked three part time jobs to make it through that. Started showing at Sci-Fi conventions with D&D friends. Made connections in the computer game industry and was lucky, it was early enough that you didn't have to be a great artist to get in. Been trying to catch up ever since.
When I wanted to turn to painting and gallery work professionally I had to really ramp up my skills. This meant working and commuting 10-14 hour days generally...then painting at night. We had three toddlers by then too. It was a struggle but you know...what isn't?
So if you have a hard time doing anything creative after a full day's work...don't know what to tell you. Except that there are other people who will push for it and they'll be the ones with the job you wanted. Not to mention the professional work day is very much not at all like a pick-a-nick. But good luck, I would set some goals and do whatever it takes to reach them.
Funny enough the job I have now is a great motivation to get home and draw. Not that I don't like my job, but the thought of doing this for the rest of my life is not a happy thought either.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)
You don't find the time. You make the time.
**Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial
Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!
"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
I am not a professional, but I am studying to become one while balancing with my academic school work. My mom gives me money for food. I go to college full time, where I receive financial aid. It over-pay for the tuition because I go to a cheap city college. I get some money back, which I use to buy art supplies. I am going to start work-study next semester, which means I find a job in my college such as grading papers, drafting, etc. I skip some meaningless reading assignments from my English teacher to draw more, because he is a jerk.
Last edited by Vay; April 21st, 2011 at 04:18 PM.
Twinkle, twinkle little star
I don't wonder what you are
For by spectroscopic ken
I know that you are hydrogen - Ian D.
Hmm, how can you define being professional when you don't make your primary source of income doing it?
But I digress... I worked fulltime and painted at night and on weekends. I covered my living romm wall with rejection letters and everyday I came home and didn't paint was another day those people were right and I wasn't good enough.When I was hired at Lucasfilm, I knew I was never going back to working doing anything but art. I made sure that happened by studying with the top artists in my field at the time.
We all know it's effin hard we're all going through it, unless you have a trust fund and your parents are filthy rich. As Elwell said....you make time.
It's a constant up hill battle. Even when you reach that goal you can't rest on your laurels. People say we have the easiest jobs in the world....Fuck 'em.
Just do it.
I shouldn't really say "lucky" as I know it can be a bit of an insult considering it is more down to hard work than "luck" haha but you get what I mean
Just looked to your DA account and your works are very good. Sure you can get art-related job even now.
I'm much worser but I work in a small casual game-development company, I do concepts, icons, GUIs and other stuff. And I also get very tired at evenings, but have no choise) Sometimes I do sketches, read tutorials and so on )
Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.
"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.
The usual staples for anatomy:
I also think this stereotype is actually partly due to mainstream artists such as Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst etc
To an extent you can't really blame people to jumping to such conclusions, I mean why should they know if they have no interest in art? We all stereotype people's job positions
Last edited by SallyJackson; April 21st, 2011 at 11:21 AM.
A full time job you dislike can be a great motivator to try harder in art.
When I first started doing published work, I worked a full time job, came home, took a nap, woke and ate, then put in a few hours on assignments. Weekends were my only days to devote to art, so those days were set aside to make sure I hit my deadlines. A social life went almost entirely on hold. I worked, ate, slept, and not much else for weeks at a time, and when I didn't have paying work, I took a few days off then worked on portfolio pieces trying to attract different clients.
Right now it sounds like your situation is almost ideal. You live at home and only work part time. If you can't find tons of free time now, you never will.
I totally get what you mean by having a job you hate as a good motivator. If you enjoy or you are comfortable in your job then the need to make any change dwindles away! The thought of having a full time career outside of art for life scares me alot haha
I agree with what everyone else said (making time etc) also I have reduced the amount of things in my life that people use to unwind but that are really a sink hole for creative time. The big two things? Video games and cable. These things might give some people inspiration but for me they just sucked me in and were an easy way to procrastinate.
Try to make art your way to unwind. Unsteady of looking at it as practice or homework find a way to get energy from it. I listen to audio books and music. And I find ways to draw the things that are both what I need to work on and what I /want/ to work on.
"This is a paint and pixel-splattered furnace that forges the swords of artistic mastery. This is a place where swarthy and belligerent dwarves drink turpentine mead, berate their apprentices and slap the trade into their skulls. It's where the anvils are made of graphite, the hammers are as true as rectangular marquee selections and the fires burn with the light of a thousand lensflares." --Jason Rainville
Even if you work a full-time job, you would still have enough time to get 5-6 hours in a day, and still have a full nights sleep of 8 hours.
As a full-time worker and going to college part time, I know I can realistically devote 35 hours a week to drawing (except when tests are coming up). If I didn't have college to worry about (algebra classes sink alot of time, as I was never good in math) then it can be well over 40 hours a week.
The problem, as some others have mentioned, is distractions. I'm a gamer and I have cable, and it's hard to quit them cold turkey. But I believe the 35 is a decent amount of time to devote to drawing a week to get better (and it still leaves a little room, namely on the weekends, to watch some tv and play a few games for a bit).
If you are married, that's a whole other bag. If you have a wife and kids, and have a full-time job (which is likely), then I'm not sure how you would be able to do it.
If you just have a full-time job, then there's still no excuse. Cut friends, games, tv, and you'll have time.
Sketchbook: There and Back again Updated- 7/04/12
And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.