Episode 2 - Am I Too Old To Get Started?



  • @missmushy
    I love your sense of humor! Keep it up--you will be a good storyteller.



  • @missmushy
    Ha, ha! I had to look up "zimmer frame". I've only heard them called "walkers" here in the US. It's fun to see international differences. πŸ™‚



  • Am I Too Old To Get Started?
    I don't think you're ever too old to start. None of us know how long we have. I had a close call with a huge wave while on vacation earlier this year. My cracked snorkeling mask didn't make it, though. Whenever I think I may be too old, I imagine thinking that 5 years from now and looking back at my younger (current) self and yelling "You're just the right age. Now get to work!" Or I imagine myself on my death bed, thinking about my life. At that point, I don't want to have any regrets. This is the time to go for it, to take risks, make lots of mistakes, learn from those mistakes, keep moving forward and enjoy the process.

    My experiences getting work
    I've been fortunate to get some book illustration work through some connections. This experience demonstrated that I could complete a book project, and that I enjoyed the process even though it was difficult, exhausting and a bit lonely. Now I'm hoping to find work through new connections (e.g., sending out postcards every few months; submitting to publishing houses and agents; attending conferences; entering contests to hopefully get some positive exposure; building a following on Instagram and other social media platforms).

    Ideas for people struggling to find work
    If you've sent all your postcards and queries and get rejections or no response, consider sharing what you're sending out in the SVS Forum, and ask for honest, constructive feedback. Then take that feedback seriously, and make changes accordingly to improve what you're sending out.



  • thanks @miriam πŸ˜πŸ˜‚ have to laugh otherwise ....πŸ™„



  • @johanna-kim I love your work!



  • I listened to episode 2 yesterday. Like Miss Mushy, I'm 54. I started training myself in illustration about a year-and-a-half ago after going through some very major life changes. So when I hear people asking if 35-40 is too late, I think, "Oh, stop it!" Similarly to Jake's example, I have a friend who (professionally) published a truly interesting memoir last year, at 91.

    My main age-related problems are 1) Doing the math and seeing how far I have to go to build a portfolio I can be proud of and enough work to support myself, and related to that, 2) giving myself permission to prioritize art and not get too distracted with the rest of life. In the end, you have to find a balance. If I'm going to make good art well into old age, I also have to eat well, sleep enough, exercise and develop good friendships. I think that last part is especially important for people who work alone!

    Like the guys said, when you've already raised a family/had a career/gone through hardships your art won't be the same as a young person looking to be a phenomenon. The problem is more that you have so much experience, but little time, and therefore you have to choose your tasks wisely. I've been looking at art for years and the ability/taste gap is huge. How can I narrow it without wasting too much time? Especially when it seems that failure is an inherent part of the process?

    There's a whole woman problem here somewhere as well, since I strongly suspect there are more woman who find themselves in this position than men (or at least they have different challenges when they do), but maybe that's another podcast.

    But what I loved most about this podcast episode doesn't even have so much to do with starting late as it is good sense generally for self-starters: It's Jake's three-phase self-study battle plan. It helped me to get a realistic idea of where I am (trying hard to kick it into phase 2) and how far I still have to go (so impatient to have a good portfolio!)

    And like I said in the thread about the first podcast, I like that this podcast fills a hole in the illustration podcast world, just as this site does generally. I'm looking forward to hearing future episodes!



  • @holleywilliamson I hear you, Holley! I spent four years with pretty serious insomnia and it recurs occasionally. All it does is waste the next day, so I have learned what to do in order to sleep enough. One of those things, unfortunately, is to not stay on the computer drawing too late! Sometimes the best way to be ambitious is to be moderate. Enthusiasm gets us going, but good habits keep us going.



  • sorry for the long post
    First off, 3 Point Perspective is already on the level of "immediately download and listen." Thank you for the great inspiration.

    I was taking notes during the podcast and found that I'm in a confusing space. I check off parts of each phase, and feel like I'm on the right path, but I need to clarify the road ahead. This is where I am for each phase:

    Phase 1

    • Draw 2 hours/day & Enroll in classes - I draw as often as I can. 2 hours a day? Pretty much. I'm taking courses on SVS, but admittedly not at the clip at which I would like.
    • Learn the fundamentals - I covered fundamentals with classes in HS and my second trip to college. I'm taking classes with SVS to up those skills and learn more. I haven't filled 6+ sketchbooks of fundamental work though, maybe 2.
    • Pick 5 artists and copy their work 20x - I've done a lot of copying over the years
    • Seek advice from a professional - What's the best way to do this?
    • Fill your creative bank account - EVERYDAY!
    • Publicize your goal - Numerous posts on my website and SM

    Phase 2

    • Draw 4 hours/day - I need to work up to this level. 12 hours at job and commute doesn't help. Neither do 4 kids. But if I am more focused I can fit more into the time I do have.
    • More intermediate classes and one-on-one Leveling up with SVS eventually
    • Complete the Draw 100 somethings challenge. Post to SM - I started on fairies but I wasn't that excited about it. So I'm switching that up and drawing an original alien dude and filling out his species
    • *Study the field that interests you. - *Buying and reading comics out the wazoo!
    • Tell stories with your work Need to be consistent with this one.

    Phase 3

    • Make a product - I made a sketchbook of my Inktober drawings from last year (available soon on my website *wink *wink). I sold 4 out of 100 at AwesomeCon a month ago.
    • Enter contests, put yourself out there - I submitted 5 pages of a comic for the Creators for Creators grant. That was nerve racking but exciting at the same time. They say who won this month. I may created a topic and let so y'all can see what I entered.


  • @jaepereira said in Episode 2 - Am I Too Old To Get Started?:

    Seek advice from a professional - What's the best way to do this?

    I second that question πŸ™‚



  • @tom-shannon Absolutely agree with the age range. I feel more idea's, concepts and my thoughts more solid in my 30's then I did in my 20's



  • @jthomas For sure, the 30's is a prime time for artistic growth. Speaking for myself, my art at 20 something looks a little silly. I drew random stuff that had no real meaning or purpose. I think an artist has to tell a personal story in order to grow and to gain an audience. Drawing a cool looking "thing" can only get you so far. I've learned this fact the hard way πŸ™‚



  • Hi All!

    I just wanted to add to everyone else's gratitude for these podcasts! Will, Jake, Lee and everyone else that helps bring SVS to us – you do a fantastic job so thank you sincerely!! These are another great addition to this resource and community!

    This podcast really hit the nail on the head for me... I'm 35(!!!), fell in love with drawing a couple of years back, and have been feeling more than ever drawn to creative industries having until now gone down a science research route. Much like some others here I took some notes during the podcast and am working on my plan! It's amazing the feeling you get when you actually have something to aim for written down in front of you rather than just floating around in your head – the crazy mix of excitement and trepidation!

    I'm currently working on a list of artists – sorting through the multitude – to pick just 5 that I hope will help me towards my goals. Once I have decided, I was thinking to post the list on the forum to get feedback whether these would be suitable as I don't want to fall into the trap of picking artists that aren't suitable for whatever reason.

    Also, on my to-do list is find someone or a group more local (in the UK) to maybe meet up with once in a while and go through things in person... Anyone up for an SVS UK chapter? πŸ™‚

    As an encouragement I've been reminded of something my music teacher would tell me – if you're playing as part of a band make sure they are better musicians than you as whilst it can be somewhat terrifying it's the best way to improve!

    Hope everyone has a great weekend!



  • @holleywilliamson Thanks so much:)



  • @jaepereira I'd like to see what yuo entered! Sounds like you're doing pretty well.



  • @jamesh I used to be a medicinal chemist - worked in research for more than a decade! I’m not in the UK, but maybe there’s space for an β€žEuropeanβ€œ chapter? @LauraA @Dulcie @Leontine and all other old continent people on SVS - could be fun to meet once, maybe at the Frankfurt or Bologna book fairs...



  • I'm in my thirties and only started working digitally in 2016. I had financial restrictions that pulled me back but it cheers me up to see my progress over 2 years. It will take time to fully master my new tools and get a well-rounded portfolio out there. 1 foot in front of the other πŸ˜ƒ

    I totally agree that you need a mentor. a compass that shows you north.

    I would add health to the list of things you cannot sacrifice. I'd sacrifice a job in a heartbeat but not my health.

    0_1525527078316_first and most recent digital paintings.jpg



  • I've started my serious art career eight years ago (age 39). Its changed my life completely. I feel like I finally really am alive! I am just starting, but who cares about age? perhaps its more easy for younger people, but I am very motivated, thats what I lacked when I was younger. I guess I thought I was naturally talented. When I found out that my art was not good at all, I decided to change attitude and work hard to become better.
    @smceccarelli That would be awesome! Ill probably be there this year. Lets try and meet up!





  • Hi everyone. I am 45 and listening to this episode made me decide to take a path I had got off of a long time ago. It was so inspiring, I really took the things said to heart.
    After secondary school (1 million years ago) I did a foundation course in art and a diploma in graphics and advertising. I had always drawn and painted, from tiny, all the way through school but lost some interest when it came to higher education, so I took a short course in something I thought I could get a job in and then go back to illustration. Well, I actually got a job as an art restorer and loved it so have spent 24 years doing that (I don't regret not following the illustration path at that time at all btw) while drawing and painting on the side (not seriously, hobby work, sold a few bits). That career is now winding down for me and after much soul searching I realised I wanted to give illustration a serious go again. I found the podcast as I was going through this process so I took it as a sign and signed up for the course to help me get started. I plan to work through the phases outlined in the podcast, build up my skills and porfolio and in a couple of years apply for a masters in illustration online course that the University of Falmouth run. I am posting this partly for accountability, partly because I am keen to immerse in the process and the SVS courses. So, hi!



  • I already posted to this but I'd like to add that most of you, compared to me, are still quite young. In my eyes you have so many years ahead of you! I went back to school and got an AA in Art at the local Community college when my son joined the army. It was a good way to stay occupied. I was amazed at what I good student I was πŸ™‚ Maturity makes a world of difference πŸ™‚ At the time I had kids that were going to the college at the same time I was, that was kind of cool (not for them so much πŸ™‚ ) I remember thinking I shouldn't be spending money for school when by the time I finished I'd probably be ready to retire (I think I was about 55 then). A wise older woman said to me, " You'll still be ready to retire even if you don't go." In other words, you're going to get older anyway, you might as well learn something and enjoy it. I also felt pressure (self-imposed) to be successful and earn money since I spent money for my education but, I have come to the point that I will do what I do because I want to-not for money-besides I really don't want that kind of stress at this time of my life. However, I do want to be as good as a professional before I die πŸ™‚ In the meantime, I enjoy being here and love to be connected with all you wonderful creative people. Slowly but surely I am progressing and I love watching the progress of so many of you. I'm rooting for all of you, young and old!