Updated: Sep 19, 2021
Being an artist in this day and age isn't easy. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to make your artist dreams come true. And, maybe it's just me, but I feel like young artists have it so much harder than artists did in the past. To help young artists overcome these hurdles, I'm giving my two cents on the matter. Remember these points and you'll be able to stand up to any challenges that come your way.
Style Isn't Everything
When looking around online, it seems like everyone is overly concerned with having a style. But when you're first starting out, you don't need to settle on one specific style. In fact, doing that can actually stunt your artistic growth! Think about it - now is the perfect time to experiment and try many different styles, techniques, and materials. You aren't established with a gallery, you don't have bills to pay, and there's no audience to disappoint.
Don't worry about "finding your style" at this point in your artistic journey. Instead, allow yourself to freely explore and try out many different things before committing yourself to one. I mean, you wouldn't marry the first person you went on a date with. So why pledge yourself to the first flashy style that comes your way? Plus, how would you know that style is The One without experimenting with other things first? Give yourself permission to try lots of things. As you explore, your horizons expand, and your true voice will ultimately emerge in the end. That's how you'll find your style.
Portfolios Outweigh Degrees
I hate to say it, but no one will care where you went to school if you don't have a strong portfolio. Like I mentioned previously, just going to a big name school won't be enough to get you that dream job. You're going to have to put work in well beyond getting accepted to art school to achieve your art goals. Art directors, hiring managers, and design studios want proof that you can do good work. The only way to see that is in your portfolio. So don't put so much focus on getting into the perfect school or getting into the right program. Instead, put that energy into becoming the best artist you can be. In the end, all that really matters is the work you produce.
Just Be Nice
No one wants to work with an egocentric, rude, inconsiderate jerk. No one. It won't matter how beautifully you animate if you're mean to everyone you work with. Thankfully, there's a really simple solution: just be nice. It takes so much less energy to be kind to those around you. Not only is it the decent thing to do, you'll be more likely to be rehired for future projects if you foster a pleasant work environment. You want someone to react enthusiastically when you're mentioned in work settings. It seriously pays off to be a nice person.
One of the BEST things you can do as a young artist is to go offline. You're in the experimentation and growth phase of your journey and having outside influence can do a lot of harm to your self-esteem and growth. When I was just starting out, I just drew whatever I felt like. I didn't care if it would do well online or how many likes it would get or why I wasn't getting as many comments as so-and-so. All I cared about was how I did today compared to yesterday. It kept my practice fun, exciting, and stress free! And when you're first getting into art, that's how it should be.
It won't do you any good to waste time worrying about social media algorithms or comparing yourself to other artists. Instead, use that time to practice and make actual artistic improvement. After you've established your voice and goals, it's fine to venture online. But until then, remove that pressure and focus on what really matters: developing your artistic voice.
Developing and growing an artistic career isn't an easy thing to do. It's even harder with all of today's modern pressures. But it doesn't have to be so difficult. Just remember these simple things, and you'll set yourself up for long-term success.
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Thanks for reading and happy creating!