I recently made the decision to quit my full time retail job and to make illustration my job.
The move to make my art my primary career, and consequently my primary income, was one fraught with emotions that I usually get whenever I ride a roller coaster. The thrill is what drew me to ride. Then, the slow, suspense building climb made me question the decision. What was I thinking? what happens if….? The emotions and the suspense crests as I come over the peak, and then, I see the drop. Suddenly, I am flying, the excitement is exactly what I was looking for. This was not an uncontrolled leap from a cliff, with nothing between me and the ground. I was being supported, and propelled to new heights. The times when I am on the ground again, are just the lulls while I wait in line to go thought it all again.
I have always wanted to do art as a career, especially illustration. Some may say that it is what I was meant to do. Many have seen this more clearly than I have. Blinded by insecurity, afraid of failure. What do I do when there is no money? Will there be enough work? Am I good enough? Yet, despite these fears and hesitations, I always made room for art. I always drew stories for myself, and when the opportunities presented themselves I drew for others. I could not get away from it, and the thought of not doing art was like a physical twisting, or tearing of myself. Like losing a physical part of me.
The decision was not made lightly or impulsively and I don’t think it could have been done without the support of those around me. I have been given a number of projects, and had the opportunity to work with some fantastic people: writers, like David, or publishers and editors like the women at P&MP, or other graphic designers. The recent spike of projects, steady income, the distinct probability of more work, and recognized achievements made the move that much easier. But, without the support of those closest to me, my fears may have still gotten the better of me. Without Angela’s advice and encouragement, without her faith in my skills, this would not have happened. Upon making the decision to make art my primary career, I have had nothing but encouragement. I could not thank my wife, family, friends, colleagues and co-workers enough for this support.
I never write this much. I am very rarely this open about feelings or so vocal about my appreciation of others. The thrill of making this venture has pushed me to break my silence. It pushes me to do better, for to make this work, I will have to be better. My fears were quelled this time, but they still lurk in the back of my mind, waiting for the right opportunity to rise again. Fear is a choice. I must choose to rise past it. I am excited by the future and my new career as an illustrator.