Looking at your art has been so inspiring. I’ve been having a very hard time lately because I feel like a lot of my artistic peers around me have been improving their skills exponentially and I’ve just stayed in the same place. I’m worried that artists who are 19 going on 20 like me and are aiming to be apart of the art production team for professional companies are suppose to be sooooo far ahead in their skills and it makes me feel like I’m very behind and it’s too late to have dreams of working for Disney or Pixar or Dreamworks or wherever. Because of my lack of faith in my skills I also chose to go to a regular university instead of one that specializes in art of animation or illustration. You are probably very busy, but I just had this sudden urge to reach out and ask for advice. If you only have time to look at this, that’s fine, and I want to say thank you for creating such beautifully creative, expressive, and fun drawings that can be enjoyed by anyone.

(I received this question in my inbox today and I had to really think about it. It hit home personally, so please forgive the wall of text!)

First point I gotta make right out of the gate is: never let another artist’s progress affect what you do, or how you feel. Your artistic evolution is your own path, and others have no direct correlation to your value as an artist, or as a person.

It’s natural to place mental yard sticks for measuring your progress against artists surrounding you (and this isn’t made any easier by the advent of social media in art), but in reality it can be extremely toxic. Instead of dreading the work of others as you see them progress, celebrate it. Really look at what you like about what they did, take what you love, try it yourself, make it your own. That’s how we grow as a community, and as individuals.

Second point I really have to stress is: Screw big studio dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s awesome to have a goal to work at one of the big houses. I know amazing people who work at places all over the industry, but you know what I find? Everyone starts, at some point or another, looking outward at different places to work again. Studio culture changes as people leave, are laid off, or simply move on to challenge themselves elsewhere. Regardless of your dreams, you should always be striving to love what you do, and constantly pushing to work at places where you can surround yourself with awesome people who support & challenge your artistic growth. That CAN be at a place like Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks…but it’s just as likely to happen in small teams and studios.

Point three! Art school is bogus in many degrees. Each campus is paranoid and comparing itself to another (or just CalArts and Art Center), but what we all tend to forget is that these up-and-coming, talk of the town artists graduating from these institutions are not examples of the student body as a whole. There are hundreds of artists graduating from ‘prestigious’ institutions that never get seen or talked about while they attend, and their work is good. There are people who drop out too! And there is nothing wrong with that. Dropping out does not equate to failure. Often times it means they had the guts to admit that that school wasn’t the path for them. I can’t tell you how many professional, successful industry artists I’ve met who either A) never went to an art college, or B) dropped out and never graduated.

My point is, school is an opportunity, but it by no means is the only way to succeed. At the end of the day the only thing that’s going to provide you the opportunities you need to be successful and fulfilled…is yourself.

I can talk about these things all day because I’m in the same boat honestly. I constantly doubt myself, dislike my work and question if I should even bother. I’m by no means a professional. I’ve been looking for work for about 7 months now, and I can get really down in the dumps. But I also have to remember that it’s a tough time for the industry, and everyone, even pros, are hurting. We’re lucky that this is a community that, if anything good can be said about it, is amazing at supporting its members. We look out for each other, and we all deal with the same struggles. Screw expectations. Keep trying to get better because it’s what you love to do. Others will see that passion & effort in your work and it will carry you further than you ever hoped.

(via vicehii)

THIS. Is spot on.

(via mayonose)


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