Is Age just a number?

  • Hey,

    I'm 29 years old, I've only been learning to draw for the past year (since I was in High School), but I know that I want to be have a career as an illustrator. It's taken me a long time to find what I want to do with my life, but am I starting too late? I worry that I'm too old to start, and I won't be hireable in the future. I believe this is the reason why I may be 'creatively blocking' myself.

    Any thoughts?

  • hi, i do believe that age is only a number! When i was 28, i turned my personal life upside down and got it working really well. Now i am 38 and iam doing this with my carrier. I just finished prestige finance studies (probably nobody here heard of ACCA;), but i decided to take a break from finance and become an aspiring illustrator. I know iam naive but thats a part of me feeling young. So, if you feel young, you can achieve your goals!:)

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    I didn't even start art school until I was 30 and had never drawn before. Now I've done over 25 published books and co-own this school. I can definitely tell you that at 29 your whole life is still ahead of you. Just do the work and let the rest take care of itself.

  • It is just a number, as long as you´re dedicating serious time to your craft you should do fine. Just remember there are ups and downs with any career, particularly so with ones related to arts.

  • These replies really mean a lot to me. I'm so glad I'm not the only person who's had a later start and its encouraging to see. I live in a small town outside of London, UK, and don't have any artist connections, which is maybe why I worried so much.

    You've all inspired me to try the Tree house June Challenge. Here goes nothing!

  • I'm 34 and this thread makes me feel sad.

    I think you are still very young. This is how I look at it: Plato didn't write the Republic until he was in his 80's. Besides, we aren't athletes, it isn't as if we should be concerned with getting older in regards to slowing down due to age. You can do anything you want as long as you are dedicated.

  • Well first off I'm 43 and I only got back into art a few years ago when a friend asked me to design a shirt for him. Now I realize I'm almost ready to leave one very successful career for another in art. Consider that many people are painting and selling art way past the normal retirement age I believe I have another 40 or so years left to paint and sell work

  • Echoing what others have said, I will add that those in positions to hire illustrators are not looking at the person per se, but their talent and skills, reliability, and work ethics. They don't care how old you are, just that you will be able to deliver the artwork you agreed to do at the requested deadline.

  • Pro SVS OG

    45 here - did not get into art seriously until I was 39. I changed career (moving into art direction) at 41 and left that for freelance illustration last October. Since then, I have worked on two books for the educational market and I am working on my own picture book dummy now.
    So, no, definitely not even remotely too late 😉

  • These comments are amazing, it's really given me a lot of thought and I'm so greatful to all of you.

    I hadn't though that there were other people who had started their careers in art later in life, I had always assumed that everyone had mostly started at a young age.

    It's harder when you're older, mostly because of outside influences telling you to 'settle down' and 'find a steady job'. When you're so passionate about something you believe is the key to the rest of your life, it's testing at times to start believing those people and put it to one side.

    Thank you all again, this has really envigorated me to try harder and really start putting myself out there!

  • @Lee-White Thank you so much Lee!

    I was watching the Creative Block webinar and it's what got me back into thinking 'Hey, maybe I can do this', but this was one issue I needed to tackle head on after the advice on dealing with the problem.

    SVS learn has been such a huge resource and guidance for me, this was the best decision I've made yet in learning how to draw.

  • @adamshephard Of course age is just a number. The good part is yet to come! When you are over 25 you start to find out where our 'passion' really is, and you can use the passion you feel for art to focus. Thats so awesome. Try and set goals. Don't compare to much on others, but let them inspire you and be proud of your achievements. Every drawing is a a part of your journey. Enjoy the journey! Good Luck!

  • Thanks for making this post, I've been thinking the same and feeling old lately at 35. When I was doing my foundation art course in 2014 all the students thought I was still in my 20's because I still look pretty young, but then they found out and started teasing me a bit that I was old enough to be their mum (in a friendly way). There was one lad there who was only 20 something and he was depressed that he thought he was too old... crazy stuff. I had a long chat to him and helped him with his sketchbook and then he started painting every day after college as well and he improved like crazy in no time. I think it's just down to mindset not age.

  • I just want to chime in and say thanks for everyone's positive vibes to the OP. I feel the same way at 42. I used to draw all the time, loved it. I went to art school for years, but shifted out of illustration and into design career. I stopped drawing for fun, only really drawing occasionally for a layout comp. Now 20 years later I am rediscovering my love of drawing. I found this site and I am inspired to try my hand at illustration but don't feel I could ever be good enough to pivot into a new career direction (mid-life crisis?). Anyway, I'm going to at least work on some skills, have fun and see where it takes me. Who knows?! PS. I find you all very inspiring. Keep being awesome.

  • SVS OG

    @adamshephard I'm 60. You are not too old! Keep doing what you love.

  • Pro SVS OG

    I am 47 and have wanted to illustrate my whole life. I have only been working professionally for a year and it is the best decision I have ever made to fully focus on my art. You have your whole life ahead of you!

  • @rcartwright I don´t think that the age to dedicate to painting is an important factor.
    It could be in most jobs cause the companies only want young people.
    But to be honest I´ve worked for more than 17 years selling car spare parts in a big company, and after that I thought about to become an illustrator, which has been the best choice that I ever took, and now I´m 45 and two children with 5 and 11 years old . 😉
    I always thought that although since I was a boy, I painted very well, I never thought that I could be able to live on this.
    All is possible if you really want it. 😉

  • @adamshephard said in Is Age just a number?:

    I'm 29 years old, I've only been learning to draw for the past year (since I was in High School), but I know that I want to be have a career as an illustrator. It's taken me a long time to find what I want to do with my life, but am I starting too late? I worry that I'm too old to start, and I won't be hireable in the future. I believe this is the reason why I may be 'creatively blocking' myself.

    im 27 year old, i just have been drawing+learning english since about may 2015(before that i never draw anything before and didnt know a single word of english) 😃 but now im not afraid of drawing/designing in front of ppl, and i speak english with confidence. just draw everywhere, when ever u can, draw on any piece of paper u can find, even u live on street u still drawing...

  • I love this thread. I've been working at becoming an artist seriously since I was 25 and every once in a while I have to keep reminding myself that there is no expiration date on art! Keep working and you'll get better. Nobody out there with the money cares how old you are if your work is great and you have a good professional ethic!

  • @jose-ramos I never said anything about working for someone else or a company

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