Episode 2 - Am I Too Old To Get Started?

  • @missmushy I totally get you. It's awfully scary to step off the train in a place where you don't know anything or anyone (if you catch my drift.) I'm 38 and have always taken art classes in school but then when the moment came to choose an occupation my mother told me that there's no future for artists. They don't earn anything. I could better look at something where I could be sure I'd get a wage off later on.

    As I am a mom myself, I can understand her feelings and her way of thinking but if I could turn back time, I would have gone to art school and just follow my heart.

    Right now I am following the SVS learn classes whenever I have a spare moment. I love them and totally loose track of time once I'm going. I'm also reading up on stuff I have a hard time with (at this moment it's perspective, next I'm doing character design).

    And just like you, I have a lot of moments when I am thinking to myself, what the heck are you doing? Why are you spending all this money on supplies, books and lessons? And then having my husband sneer at me for getting that book that I need for my study or yet another pad of paper. It makes me feel guilty.

    But then again, we are doing something that makes us happy. Something where we don't have to sit pushing buttons all day long so in the end it will be all worth it. " Eyes on the prize Violet. Eyes on the prize."

    Big hugs!

  • I love this podcast... I feel like a complete newbie coming into this field many of the replies above already have so much of art that is so good. I run my own web development and graphic design business and am getting kind of tired the technical aspects of that so I am only just getting into drawing again. I did a lot up until I was 20 years old and then nothing for the last 17 years. I am only now getting back into it again. Starting at age 37....

    I grew up with no tv from a kid until like 20 years old, so I read many, many, many books. My head is full of ideas and creativity and I am hoping I will find direction and a place to finally release the many stores in my head. πŸ™‚ There are so many good illustrators on this forum I feel quite intimidated...but inspired as well.

    Such good advice in this episode, plus I am glad I joined svs learn. I am going to devour everything in the online courses and learn from the masters. I already have a thick skin for critiquing in my current profession. So I am ready to be humbled and learn from the bottom.

  • @smceccarelli would also join for a meeting in Europe. Hope you would also invite an absolute beginner πŸ™‚
    Studied geography and geoinformation and after some years in the scientific world I am in software engineering at the moment.

  • Moderator

    I'm way WAY late to the party, as I just discovered SVS within the last couple weeks. I just binge-listened to all the podcasts, and Episode 2 was my favorite.

    I'd been looking for someone to outline a sort of plan more fleshed out than "Work on your fundamentals & draw every day", and this was it. Can I tell you how much this has already impacted my life? Just within the last week?!? I'm 50, and this episode Rocked. My. World.

    Finding my top 5 illustrators I'd like to emulate (as suggested in Phase 1) led me to trolling through around 25 different illustrator representation agencies. Portfolio after portfolio... On and on... And I finally narrowed it down.

    And because I did that, I have a much stronger understanding of my own likes and dislikes, what type of work I want to create, specific visual techniques I want to try to figure out how to do, and a greater awareness of the current work in the illustration field as a whole.

    It's vast. I didn't realize how vast. I learned so much about what my own preferences are, my own biases, my own strengths and what I really need and want to work on. I so needed that.

    I can't tell you how useful that simple exercise was. I know, as a theatrical costume design teacher of 20 years at the university level, that many students don't know very much about the fields they think they want to have a career in. I'm beginning to realize myself how much I don't know. I see now that I've personally just barely scratched the surface.

    I'm going to use this exercise in my own teaching. I urge everyone to try it. Just googling "illustration agencies" will render several websites with lists of different links to go visit. It's very enlightening. I had a couple favorite illustrators growing up that I thought were my long-held favorites, but I didn't realize how many other artists there were to fall in love with and explore and I soon started to question my choices. I don't wanna knock Richard Scarry for whom I have a soft spot in my heart, but I think it was my nostalgia keeping him there. I can confidently say that RogΓ©rio Coelho now has my personal top spot... I bought several children's books as a result of the exercise and I am not disappointed!!

    I also learned that this year there is a new book coming out called History of Illustration by Doyle, Grove & Sherman. I think there have been a LOT of art history texts, but not necessarily one about illustration specifically. The $90 (!!!) paperback version comes out on February 7th.

    Does anyone else know of any really good "Intro to the Illustration Field" texts that have helped them? I'd love to know about them!

    Anyway, I thought I'd share. Thanks for this episode! It was great! Changed my life!

  • I can't explain how much this episode meant to me, especially hearing Lee say that he'd started at around my age. I'm 34 right now, and I've been drawing all of my life, but I've never pursued it as a career, either supplemental or main. I honestly thought I'd be stuck sitting an IT job and not ever having my art amount to much until I started listening to the show, and the thought that maybe I could freelance in my spare time and do okay started to float. But then that voice... "You're 34, dude. You're too old for this."

    Thanks so much for the advice, for the encouragement, and for the reminder that age is just a number. 2019 is where my art career is going to start, you wait and see πŸ˜ƒ


  • Great thread!
    I read through the show notes but i didn't listen to it yet.. Need to take some time to do that and to read through this discussion too. Very relevant to me, being 32.

    All the best!
    Have a great day,

  • @SCBenedict This is one of my favorite episodes of this podcast. The "what to do the year before you go to art school" is my map for how I am approaching learning the big field of drawing. I used it to create a month by month plan and am really enjoying it, and reaping the benefits of the advice.

  • I know this was aired back last year, but I wanted to say how helpful I found this podcast. I used to do lab work, been a stay at home parent for a few years (I'm 40 now) and now I'm looking for a job, my kids are in school and everything's a bit more predictable with less sleep-interruptions... So I thought this was a good time to really make a go of studying illustration. I've wanted to for years, I sometimes pick up a pencil and sketch but it can be months inbetween sessions.

    Since January I've really tried to focus more and I have to say the podcasts have been really helpful, and this one especially was spot on for me. Out of this podcast, I've drawn myself up a basic learning outline and I'm going to be going through all the sites I have bookmarked, and all the books accessible at home and in the library to put together a syllabus I can follow. I need structure to push myself forward.

    Anyway, my point is, thank you guys for putting out that podcast, I'm working my way through them and sketching whilst I listen now, stopping to take notes along the way. I look forward to listening to the rest and when I'm confident I have that regular study time put aside and can get the most out of it, I plan to subscribe and join a class.

  • Just wanted to chime in as well and say that this episode is VITAL, even if you don't think you're too old.

    I'm 37 and have always wanted to learn how to make the pictures in my head into something others can experience. This episode has helped me figure out a multi-year path to get there. I'm taking my first steps down that road now.

    Thanks guys!


    I've been binge listening from the first episode and I can't get enough. I'm starting to get a backlog of all my other podcasts because of you guys.

    Just from skimming this this thread, I'm glad to see so many folks coming to art/illustration at a late age. After a many years in the advertising/graphic design industry, spending my days clicking on a keyboard and mouse, I've decided to restart my love for analog art. Right now, I've learning and re-learning how to use my hands. My goal isn't to become a professional illustrator, but rather enjoy the process of making art again. In turn, it's making me a better designer, art director, creative director at my job. BTW, I'm 53 (how's that for a late start?).

    Keep up the great podcast. I love learning new stuff, and enjoy how relevant it is to many other creative industries.

  • SVS OG

    I re-listened to this one yesterday. I love the three stage curriculum aspect, and recognize the outlines of your SVS re-vamp in it. Really pushing to get a process that I can trust to push out portfolio pieces. And @dickdavid, I'm even older than you!

  • This episode was a Big Deal for me. It's part of why I allowed myself to consider making the switch into illustrating, and (bonus!) why I bought my svslearn subscription.

    (Here's where I push aside the cynical voice in the back of my mind whispering that this podcast episode was just a way to get old-timers without a hope to buy some classes. I don't really believe that - it's just that business/marketing can make a fella' skeptical of even the best of intentions.)

  • Pro

    @CosmoglotJay Business and marketing doesn't have to be icky πŸ™‚ They have a service that is incredibly well done, affordable and helps hundreds or thousands of people. The fact that it's a paying service doesn't diminish the fact that it's helping a lot of people. Marketing it allows them to reach and help more people, making money allows them to keep up the business and create more courses that help people. As an illustrator you'll have to sell your art and services as well, and you may be impaired by a hangup that trying to sell your services is wrong or icky. It's a sad way to see business! You're not forcing or tricking anyone into buying your art, rather marketing is simply about finding the people who need what you are offering. Finding the people you can help πŸ™‚

  • @NessIllustration I agree - marketing, like everything else, has its light and dark sides.

    I do believe SVSlearn is on the side of the light.

  • @CosmoglotJay This was the episode that convinced me to check out SVSLearn as well. I had been looking at a few other options like Schoolism, but when I heard how well thought out the 3-phase plan was I decided it made sense to go with the source!

    I don't know yet if I'm expecting a career change here. That could be really great, but it's very early days to even be thinking about that. I'm happy to part with a reasonable amount of money for quality instruction, and that's definitely what I've experienced since joining up.

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