Episode 2 - Am I Too Old To Get Started?

  • @missmushy You can do it! Just focus on the here and now 🙂 I'm rooting for you! 😃

  • @juliepeelart I feel exactly the same! I guess I'm still on phase one, where I should just focus on studying and practicing and pumping out as much art as I can.

  • SVS OG

    @lady-chamomile Thanks for the pep talk! I'll keep swimming til my zimmer frame is rusty!! 😃

  • Hello! I'm 33 years old and with not much formal training. A little more than a year ago I decided to that I want this as my career, so I've focused more intensely on improving, but I do feel discouraged when I see 17 year olds making amazing work; so this has been very encouraging!

    Questions: I've heard it on this podcast, and also said by Ross Tran https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxVfsG8srqA that finding a good mentor and starting a feedback cycle is an awesome thing to have in your artistic journey. How can someone who didn't go to art school make those kinds of connections?

    How did everyone here decide what they wanted to do with their art? I'm kinda at a loss. I like illustrating, but making comic books seems so hard to do as a source of income, and childrens books don't appeal all that much to me. So I'm kinda at a loss as far as how to make this into a living.

    Thanks everyone! Have a wonderful day!

  • Pro SVS OG

    I decided to move into art at 39. Not quite out of the blue as Lee did (I had been drawing since I was a kid and even did a couple of gigs along the years), but definitely coming from a totally different career and life path. I went back to art school (AAU in SF) and graduated in 2016 at 43 - I kept my job all the time, which nicely paid for art school. It's now almost exactly two years since I finished school. I work part time as art director - illustrating as well as working with great illustrators for editorial and advertisement - and the rest of the time I freelance. I'm just starting to get some nice jobs since about half a year.

    Guess what: nobody ever expressed the slightest interest in my age or asked to see my ID...
    Maybe that's what the years and experience are for: to realize that the only obstacles in any path are the ones you make for yourself and the only prejudices that cripple you are the ones you allow into your own thinking.

    I'm only at the very beginning of my illustration career - but from my point of view I'm also barely half way through my life. There's so much time ahead that I could even consider switching careers once more and learning something totally new....

    Great podcast episode again, though I feel the age "issue" is purely imaginary.

  • It's really nice to have confirmation in life that we're doing the right thing or at least headed in the right direction. I enjoyed the podcast.

    I think the greatest advantage an older person has is that wonderful gift of time. With less required of us..I'm speaking from a mothers perspective.. more of our time can be devoted to our own pursuits. That's my story.. there are times I do feel I've missed out in many ways, but I try to remember that my only limitations are the ones I put on myself. It may be that I will never be a superstar in the world of illustration [!] but I don't ever feel that the reason for that might be my age! We're very lucky in that, this industry, as Will Terry mentioned, doesn't require muscle so much as it does vivid use of imagination and hard work. You can develop those traits well into your senior years. How fun is that. Thanks for another informative, entertaining podcast guys..you work great together.

  • SVS OG

    @lady-chamomile said in Episode 2: Am I Too Old To Get Started?:

    I'm kinda at a loss. I like illustrating, but making comic books seems so hard to do as a source of income, and childrens books don't appeal all that much to me. So I'm kinda at a loss as far as how to make this into a living.

    What is it that interests you? Why do you make art? As a mental release? A way to tell stories?

  • SVS OG

    Um, the link at the top of this thread is taking me to episode 1 of the podcast, not episode 2. Can someone give me a good link?

    EDIT: I found the right link, but maybe someone should edit the link above anyway 😉

  • SVS OG

    I'm 61! I'm not really trying to make a career for myself but I am definitely wanting to increase my skills. I even have done a few jobs here and there. Mainly I do personal projects. I love SVS and the forums! I also enjoy learning from the videos, podcasts, etc. I studied art many years ago, drew my whole life (at some times more than others). I'm still learning and have A LONG way to go. Hopefully it will keep my brain cells alive as I grow older 🙂

  • @smceccarelli Im turning 38 soon and I have a similar story to yours. You give me hope!

  • SVS OG

    Loved this podcast. So much great info. I love hearing their different "perspectives" especially when they differ, so interesting. It is nice to think about the phases and to have an outline so I can work on the gaps.

    I do take issue with telling people to get less sleep. I think that getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising are so important for your creativity. But maybe I have spent too much of my life sleep deprived. It effects my mood, stamina, relationships, self esteem, belief in self, and drive to get things like art done. I think if you need to get less sleep to get things done it should be temporary, but not a life habit. That is my opinion and what I have found works much better in my life (just turned 37 😀)

  • I've had illustration work off/on over the years, but so far, not as a full-time job. ( I'm 40 something, currently make my living as a graphic designer / web designer ) IMHO, I would not be surprised if a good number of highly regarded artist "started" making their very best work in their 30s and 40s. An older artist has a huge inventory of ideas and experiences to draw from. IMHO, it only gets better with age. I agree, as artist, we never retire. Our entire life is an "art project".

  • SVS OG

    I needed to hear the Phase 1 and Phase 2 talk. I'm about to be 32. I have a full time day job supplying the only income for my wife and kids ages 3 and 1 with yet another due in November. The only formal art education I've had is one basic drawing class at a general university and SVS. I really want to be able to turn the corner and start freelancing soon but if I'm honest with myself I know my art isn't up to it. Not yet. And that thought is discouraging. Thinking of this journey in phases and knowing the plan of action and what to be doing and looking for is a great help to push through the grind. Thank you guys for not only doing these podcasts and classes but also for loading them all with valuable and usable information. The repeat button is going to get worn out fast.

  • @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. 🙂

  • SVS OG

    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.

  • SVS OG

    thanks @miriam 😁😂 have to laugh otherwise ....🙄

  • SVS OG

    @johanna-kim I love your work!

  • SVS OG

    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!

  • SVS OG

    @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.

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