Thursday, October 2, 2014
Is Learning Illustration Hard?
Yes! - but a better question might be: Does Learning To Do Anything Well Take Hard Work? I'm often asked: If I take your classes at svslearn.com will I be able to illustrate a children's book, comic book, ebook, etc? There's no way to answer that question unless I want to be a complete sell out and say, "But of course...all you need to do is pay me your money and the world we be opened unto you!"
Unfortunately what you are subconsciously asking is can I be good at something without working hard? We all think we want that. I thought I wanted to be good at playing the guitar without working many hours to learn it so I could impress people and myself with an ability I did NOTHING to gain. But doesn't that beg the question: How can you impress yourself or anyone else without having gone through the hard work and sacrifice of learning? - AND - if you could magically attain such a level would it be rewarding? Wouldn't everyone be magically amazing at everything? If everyone was amazing at everything than would being amazing be average?
I've seen a lot of people try a creative endeavor like illustration only to quit after a year or two because they realized how hard it was going to be to reach a pro level. Then they pick up something else and try their hand at it only to realize that it's just as hard to achieve greatness. The truth is that if you love doing something it's going to take many years of hard work and practice to attain a high enough level to impress people and get noticed online.
Take a look at one of my first paintings (below) and the one I just finished(above). I rendered the one below when I was age 10. I remember this because my grandfather gave me an oil painting set on my tenth birthday. I was so excited I started painting right away. The new one (digital painting) was finished last night. There is a 38 year span between the two. There was no magic or sorcery in between these two paintings but there have been many years and many paintings that led to my ability now and many dedicated teachers and peers that have given me valuable instructions and pointers. Many of you know that I almost got kicked out of my University illustration program. My desire to create great art far exceeded my ability but with hard work and determination I was able to make progress and a career out of it.
There were many times where doubt crept in and made me want to quit but I beat back those urges and pushed through the hard times. I'm at a place right now that I wouldn't trade for money. When you reach a level where you can compete nationally or internationally I promise you will look back and thank yourself for not quitting. This is not to say that you shouldn't make lane changes but that no matter what lane you switch to you will have to start from scratch and work really hard to get really good. Learning is hard work but worth every minute!