Juggling work and illustration. Creative careers and career changes



  • Hi.
    I have just decided to stop teaching,get a barrista job and do illustration! I got ill,I had to reassess what I was doing,teaching was literally making me ill due to the stress levels.I can honestly say I am happy not to be going into another class😊



  • P.s
    Doing illustration through Svs means I can go at a pace which suits me and my family,I have 2 teenagers who need to be constantly fed....re previous decisions,experiences etc nothing I ever wasted,and it's vwhat I'm doing now that counts,good luck .



  • #evilrobot...
    So much pressure to be at a certain standard by the time you're 21 or younger! Where does the notion come from that an artist should be established by 21?slightly worrying as with perfection there Is no room for growth or personal development.I believe that art should be allowed time for growth and development and for change.I'm 45,does that mean I'm passed it,heck no! I have years of experience in my favour,and rear view mirror,and miles of opportunities ahead.I ain't dead yet!



  • Hey Sarah!
    I can relate strongly to your situation!
    I studied architecture (regular building), currently working in an architecture firm and am also struggling with the lack of creativity in the workplace. I recently started to intern at an animation company (mostly advertising video production and motion graphics) on Fridays and studying through SVS in my free time after work which has been incredibly helpful.

    Working full time in a creative studio doing illustration or other creative visual design would be ideal and I am aiming for that (currently working on a illustration portfolio) but have yet to make the full time change. I've found it daunting to start moving into an area different to what I have studied (I didn't study art in high school or university) but every step (online classes, daily practice) towards the goal counts so much.

    Out of interest, what does one study to become a naval architect? I find it fascinating!



  • Hi @sarahelliott489! I went to school for illustration(at FIT) and I currently work as an in house illustrator for a t-shirt company…and even with illustrating full-time I find it very hard to find time for my own work. B/c being creative all day pushing someone else's dream is getting harder and harder for me to start pushing my own. I find it hard to find the time to work on personal projects. Since I’m being creative at my job all day when I get home working on my projects is sometimes last thing I want to do. There are times when I have to force myself to get my own work done and then I wonder if I’m making the right choices for my art b/c I’m forcing the work…But don’t get me wrong I do like my job I draw everyday, I draw things I would have never wanted or thought to draw and I’m get to work on composition and text treatments. But I know that the art I’m creating for my day job is stuff I would never put in my personal portfolio straight out so b/c of that I wonder if it’s worth staying…And with the time 40+ hrs a week I spend at my day job I do feel like I'm moving so slow in my own personal career goals. I recently had a conversation with my wife about goals and where I’d like to see myself in the coming year. She made a great suggestion to write down my long term goals and then write down the short term goals that will get me to my long term goals and take it day by day. Eventually I will have checked all those short term goal boxes and reached my long term goal. I think the toughest thing is being patient and knowing if you do the work and take the time you will get there. Jake has a great video about achieving your goals and ways to make time so you can check off your goal boxes: Achieving Your Goals - https://youtu.be/ALQ3gjRpmXQ
    Quitting Your Day Job-
    https://youtu.be/B2rujb6Osmk
    I always reference these videos whenever I need a career/goal/life check! 🙂


  • Pro SVS OG

    @bluesky71 I am 44 - feeling with you! Just started working seriously towards a career in illustration when I was 39. I have also embraced the notion that being this age is an advantage rather than a disadvantage. I do not aim at a studio job, so I am not competing with younger people for the attention of a recruiter. All the life experiences I have had (and kids!) are gold-worth in so many different ways.
    And as the saying goes: "he who thinks that all fruit ripens with the strawberries, knows nothing of grapes"
    Life is a long haul....



  • Thanks for everyone's replies. Its great to hear everyone's stories.

    Guess you are right that whatever you do in your day job you will always want to do more of your personal work which you can't really do unless you quit work totally and be a freelance illustrator.

    I think I just need to find a good balance and understand it is going to take me a long time to get where I want to be.

    To answer @brad I went to Southampton university and studied it for four years.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Great thread guys. This is a very tough issue for everyone and never seems to get easier. What we all want is:

    1. Do work that you want to do and get paid enough to not have to do anything else.
    2. Have the freedom to shape your artistic development and continue to get better as an artist.

    Unfortunately it never seems to happen this way. It's always a give and take, even as you get more successful in your career. As your work becomes more known, you do get paid more money. But with that, more teams of people dictate how your work should be. I get massive lists of "changes" with everything I turn in now. Whole groups of people are looking at it and weighing in on every little detail. Granted, a lot of their money is riding on it so it makes sense. Sitll, It's very frustrating at times. Sometimes I just want to do a freakin' painting without a million people weighing in on it before I get started.

    My professional life consists of so many different avenues on income, that there is little time left over for playing around with art. I try to make time for it, but with a family, teaching, all the books, gallery shows, and licensing images, there just isn't any time left over in the day.

    So we all deal with this in one way or another. Honestly, if you really love drawing and painting, I think the best thing ever would be to have a part time job in something OTHER than art. And then just paint for yourself on the side and have fun with it. Once you go pro it's a whole other beast and it's just as hard for us who have been working in it forever as it is for you guys starting out (although the problems are different).

    As Mel Milton says, keep on keepin' on and let's try to make the best art we can.



  • @Lee-White Glad you chimed in on this thread. And by that I mean it's important to know that it's not just the unpublished who struggle.



  • @sarahelliott489 I have the same problem. I work as a web developer during the day. I don't have much free time since I also have a baby of six months old.
    Every spare moment I have goes to a creative project of some sorts I made up for myself, but it's not much, maybe a half an hour a day.
    I'm following an evening class at the moment to become a graphic designer, it's difficult but I believe it's worth the effort.


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