How often have you heard older people or your relatives ask what you do and when they hear you’re not a science person, they seem to almost not know what to do with your answer and begin to ask how useful it is and how much you earn?
Personally, a lot.
I have been working as a concept artist in an edu-tech company as a senior art director for more than 2 years now. I draw and create digital paintings, comic books and drawing videos on YouTube when I have free time. Although I am happy with what I do now, the road towards my career was not that smooth.
Growing up, I didn’t really have any idea about my field. I come from a really conservative middle-class family so all my parents ever wanted was for me to be an engineer or a doctor and because I did not know better, it influenced me into thinking that maybe I wanted what they wanted, too. In school, I loved drawing and the general scene would be me, at the last benches, doodling away. I really loved comic books as well and I grew up drawing characters from comic books. It made me want to create and make comics of my own.
I also remember I used to make small comics in class and my classmates would read them and laugh, which made me happy and love their reactions. It made me want to keep making more. But as much as I loved drawing, a career in art was not something that crossed my mind until I finished high school and started learning more about the endless opportunities of a career in art, which immediately made me interested enough to take the path. As time went on, I got introduced to Anime as well and I was just blown away by the versatility of the art that goes into their creation. That was when I thought, “Damn!! I have to do this.”
As young as I was, I wanted people around me for guidance and assurance but at the time I was studying art, I did not have enough people around me to guide me. I had to research on my own, learn from people like Artgerm, JeeHyung Lee, Wlop, Yun ling, etc. These artists influenced me and sort of encouraged me to keep experimenting with new things every time. I source my inspiration from a lot of things and thus, my artwork is a reflection of all the sources I take inspiration from. This would explain why my art styles are a blend of western comic book and anime/manga.
Working in this field, I cannot help but notice that people seem to have a misconception that a career in art is easy. Ideally, no matter what profession you choose, you have to give your best and try to be the best. It’s a constant struggle. I have been judged a lot in the past by people from my hometown because they did not understand why I wanted to do what I do. They’d say what use is drawing going to be, and they’d ask me to get a real job or a real profession. Today, I have a secure job, I earn well and I am satisfied with what I do despite all the doubts people had for me years ago.
My field has rapidly grown in the past few years and it will continue to do so for a really long time or probably forever. But this doesn’t mean it’s an easy road. As professionals, we need to provide our best.
For people learning art or for people who are doubtful of taking this path, I say keep doing what you’re doing. My advice would be: “Learn from people, their ways, their mistakes and your own mistakes. Learn one small thing everyday,” because in art, there’s no final red ribbon. You learn new things every day. And obviously, practice is a must. Whenever anyone asks me how they can be good artists, all I tell them is to keep practicing. Even if you attend a really renowned art school, you should remember that they’re there to guide you. Developing yourself as an artist is your job. And remember to always let your element be present in whatever you create.