instant success as an illustrator

Pills for instant success

This morning you woke up and you decided you want to be [insert dream-job]. Well, go to the shop and buy some instant-skill-pills and let’s get going! Order your new career and skills before 11 PM and get them delivered tomorrow.

Uhm, right?!

Snap your fingers…

Nowadays it seems like you can get everything you want in a heartbeat. This is mainly because of the internet.
You read an article online just now and you want to buy the book they talked about in the article? Go to an online shop and order it before 11 PM and have it delivered tomorrow!
You never have to go to the news-stand again to read the latest news, as you can just look it up on the internet.
You never have to remember a birthday again because facebook will let you know. And you can send a birthday card online to congratulate them.

Everything we want, we can have within a matter of hours without even leaving our homes. But it leaves you with unrealistic expectations when it comes to things you can’t order it online.

People are getting lazy and they’re not willing to put in effort.

Too many possibilities

The input we get on a daily basis through the internet is overwhelming. You see that one person doing something, and you immediately decide you want to do it too. You must! Buy the right shampoo, eat at that restaurant, gain that skill… You have to keep up with everyone. Or so you think.

The big problem is that we only see the surface. We see someone doing something and we think “that seems so easy, I should be able to do that!”. We don’t see how much time that person has spent gaining that skill. It could be years. In most cases, it actually is years.

The amount of people that want to become an illustrator, for example, has grown like weed in a garden you can’t possibly get rid off. It has become one of those dream-jobs.
On a daily basis I get messages and emails of people asking how they can become an illustrator, the same questions over and over again. That is one of the reasons I wrote those blog posts.
But don’t hesitate to use google and inform yourself about the things you would like to know.

In a lot of cases people tend to overlook the most important thing: gaining skills/knowledge or developing a career isn’t something you can do overnight. Or order on Amazon.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but it’s mainly answering emails, dealing with contracts, talking business and a small part is actually illustrating. It’s not that dreamy and it’s hard work.

Take a skill-pill

There isn’t a magic spell, or magic pencil that makes you draw like a pro. There isn’t a skill-pill which makes you the most talented illustrator of all time.

Whether you want to become a professional illustrator, an athlete participating in the Olympics, or any other career or skill: you have to devote yourself to your dream and invest a huge amount of time in it.
You have to train, educate yourself, invest time and money.

For example, my own career has been 12 years in the making.
It wasn’t just ‘there’ all of a sudden: I worked my butt off to get where I am today. I started drawing on a daily basis when I was 3 years old, until I was ready to apply for art school when I turned 17. I knew, when I was 4 years old, that I wanted to be an artist. It isn’t something that came to me on a whim.
I did freelance graphic design work whilst in art school and after I graduated (in 2007), I got a job as a designer. From there I gained knowledge and experience, took classes in the evening in children’s book writing, went to the UK to do a summer course, flew to Spain for another masterclass.

I didn’t sit on my butt and wait for it to happen.
No pills, no short cuts. Just hard work and sacrificing a lot in the process.

Learning and failing is part of becoming better

When I started drawing professionally in 2010, I was so frustrated at times. I wanted to draw like Oliver Jeffers and even though I just started illustrating about 6 months prior, I was angry I wasn’t at that level yet. So, I get where a lot of people are coming from.
Looking back, I can laugh about my impatience. I now know it takes a lot of time, practice, education and making many mistakes to become good at what you do.

Step 1
Make up your mind about which career you want to pursue. Pick something because it makes you happy, not because it’s popular on the internet.
If you have three careers in mind, you will have to divide your time in three which means it will take you longer to get better. Your choice.

Step 2
Go to school and educate yourself. Teaching yourself things is fine, but also know learning from professionals can help you so much more. Attend workshops and masterclasses! Buy books, read online. Getting educated about the career field you are dreaming of will help you realise if you’re suited for it.

Step 3
After education, launch your career and work hard, every day, for years.
After a few years you will see that the seeds you planted will start to grow. It’s not time to harvest just yet, but be patient. It might take a while.

Appreciate every stage you’re in because you can learn so much. Don’t get frustrated but take the time to learn from your mistakes. It’s a great ride, I promise you that!

I wish all those with dreams the best of luck and have patience, young padawans! 😉

Thanks for reading this and hopefully see you next time!

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