As you probably know by now, I am an aspiring illustrator and have been writing posts about my life as I prepare for this journey of artistic discovery and wonderment. But this post will be different, it won’t be about what has happened today but mainly about what has already happened in my life and more importantly, what I want to happen in the future.
Growing up I had many moments in my life when I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. It started when I was about 8 years old and was starting to venture away from the likes of ‘The Tweenies’ and ‘Fireman Sam’ and into the world of Cartoon Network for which I still reside today thanks to the likes of ‘Adventure Time’ and ‘Regular Show’. It was here that I started to fall in love with Sci-Fi and technology. This was thanks to shows like ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ which featured a young boy with a secret lab in his parents house where he conducted crazy experiments and created spaceships etc. So naturally, my first job I wanted to have was the same as most boys my age, an astronaut.
But over the next few years I started to look more closely into these shows and realize that it wasn’t the settings or scenarios I loved the most, but the actual designs and art styles themselves. It was from then on I would become fixated on cartoons, art and animation. The beauty of it, the places it could take you, the directions it could go, all of these things kept me coming back day after day to watch more new and old cartoons ranging from ‘Woody Woodpecker’ to ‘Ben 10’. It was at this moment that I realized what I wanted to be when I grew up, a cartoonist.
But, as I got older I noticed something strange was happening to my beloved shows and channels, they were getting cancelled and replaced by a new type of visual art, computer animation. All of my favourite shows were getting re-made in this new visual style and fans like me were getting more upset by the minute as companies and television corporations stopped thinking about the beauty of these cartoons and what the fans wanted and instead became more focused on profit, profit, profit.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love most animated shows but they don’t give the same feeling of wonderment and joy as traditional, hand-drawn cartoons do. If you think I’m wrong, try watching shows such as ‘Transformers Prime’ & ‘Beware the Batman’ then watching old shows like ‘Teen Titans’ and ‘Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy’ and then think thoroughly about which you enjoyed more.
I spent the rest of my time at primary school drawing the characters I’d seen on screen with Spongebob Squarepants being my greatest accomplishment so far. Other classmates started to notice my drawing skills as I was constantly asked the same smile-inducing question “Did you really draw that?!?” to which I happily replied “Yes, yes I did”
All of these nice, kind comments about my work helped me strive to go more out of my comfort zone and try to draw my own characters, which at the time were ideas for cartoon shows I would hopefully create one day. These also received applause from my classmates and helped me feel more confident that I wanted to pursue animation as a future job.
Then, I entered secondary school.
Here I started to gradually stop drawing as I never had the time or would be constantly reminded that drawing will not get me anywhere in life by my teachers. Obviously this didn’t stop me from drawing at home but it did have an impact on my thoughts and feelings.
Would drawing not get me anywhere in life? Would I never amount to anything?
Then I decided to get others opinions by creating an account on a little site known as DeviantArt. This website is a place for artists of any level of skill to share their works of creative genius with the rest of the world and fellow artists to get feedback and praise, along with a few negative yet helpful comments. DeviantArt helped me understand that there is a future for artists with a passion and determination to draw for a living. The amount of positive feedback and guiding comments from fellow artists helped me discover that if I strive to do what I love and share it with others, I could achieve great things, and that’s exactly what I planned to do.
By the end of secondary school I had a choice, do I stay at the secondary school for Sixth Form or do I venture into college territory. For me this was a no-brainer as my town has it’s own dedicated Art college with all the things I could need to obtain a career in Animation. But upon entering the college on an open day, I had a new dream, to be an illustrator. I was good a drawing yes, but when I saw all the effort that is required for animation (Including drawing the same character hundreds of times just to have him move in a one second scene) I realized that I would not enjoy this as I was supplied with a low attention span. But then I discovered the wonders of being an illustrator. These are the people who do the drawings in Children’s books and create covers for books etc. All you needed to do was create one powerful and extraordinary design and that was it, you could put in on almost anything you wanted! It was also a better route to go in terms of jobs as being an Illustrator means having a wide variety of options to take including Advertiser, Children’s book illustrator, Freelance illustrator and so on.
Up until this point I’ve had many moments where I’ve thought about giving up on my dream to draw for a living as there have been countless moments where I’ve spent hours drawing a character which I’m proud of, only to look over at another table and see someone else who has drawn a piece of work far better than my own and in a shorter amount of time. But then I think about all the times I’ve seen people amazed by my work and all the people I’ve made happy by drawing a character for them to show their friends and I remember that there are people out there that appreciate my work and who want to see more, and that’s what has kept me going for so long. So to everyone reading this, let us artists know what you think of our drawings because that one comment could stop them from giving up on their dreams.
If you take anything from this blog post, let it be this.
If you want to be an artist and share your creativity with the world, then do whatever it takes to get there. Don’t let other people bring you down, and always ask for comments on your work as this is what strives artists to improve or expand on their original pieces in order to become better at what they do. Always ask for feedback. Always give feedback and always let the artist know if you love any of their work as this is what keeps them going, appreciation.
I will finish with a clip from an upcoming cartoon that is a great example of what I love about the world of animation. The beauty of the art.