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Submitted on
September 14, 2013


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So, I was drawing at work yesterday (I'm now at WB btw, yay!), when I just looked down, startled, and thought, "This is what I wanted it to look like."  I suddenly couldn't fathom how that had happened.  Like I don't remember when I got to the point where someone tells me their idea, then I'm able to sit down and just MAKE THAT THING.  I remember being someone who couldn't figure out how to do that, and I acknowledge being the me I am now, but where were the two bridged and when did I cross?  This whole week has kind of been like that - me thinking about the person I was when I joined this site and the person I am today.

On that note, lemme take you back to a journal entry from August 2007, essentially at the start of my second year of USC (I was getting a Master's in Comm. Management):
"My career counselor at my school (which btw, I feel, MUST train its employees to dissuade bright-eyed students from having any ambitions outside of the SPECIFIC interests of the program), says to me in our FIRST meeting in more than a little condescending way when I tell him I'm interested in animation, 'Well, ya know Amanda, animation is a REALLY difficult field.  You'd have to be really dedicated.  It takes a lot of hard work and time.'  Thanks pal.  And here I'd been using a pencil to pick my nose all these years."
Aside from the questionable sentence structure, haha, this was really kind of interesting to revisit.  You've come a long way, past-me.  But I'm sharing this to emphasize: do what you effing love.  There I was, six years ago, getting a degree in something COMPLETELY different and heading down a completely different career path, but the heart wanted what the heart wanted.  And I could go around busting the balls of that poor counselor, but ya know what?  He was right.  I wasn't focusing on the thing I said I wanted to do.  I was just kind of wistfully hoping the universe would catch a glimpse of my warmest, fuzziest desires, and take a chance on me.  

I had to take a chance on myself.  I had to "be really dedicated."  I had to put in "a lot of hard work and time."  I'm just glad I decided to wake up and push forward.

Do this for yourself with whatever you want most.  Be really dedicated.

  • Listening to: The 1975
  • Watching: really bad rom coms YES
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Drawn-Imagination Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Ok can I just say.... I am INSPIRED!!!!!!!!

Its been way too many years, but this year I decided to really give my art my all because this truely is what I was born to do. I studied Animation at university, but while there I just couldn't get creative and was instead pushed towards producing, and I was good at it, But I longed to get over my crushing fears about my art and the inadequacy I felt about whatever art I did compared to others. Its been super hard, but once I made the decision to just start, do better than I did yesterday and just start telling my own stories, I've been feeling better about my art and finally drawing more. But most importantly virtual (online) mentors have been appearing left right and center, sharing their art, personal stories and process.

I cant wait to get to the stage you are at because I really, really, really LOVE art, illustration and animation.

We may never meet or talk or reply to my post, but I just want to say thank you for sharing and inspiring me and even more importantly others like me. Because of ladies and gents such as yourself, we can be inspired to get better and live our truth... becoming the artists we are meant to be. :)
LunaMiranda Featured By Owner May 13, 2014  Student General Artist
You have no idea how much I can relate. I currently study industrial design yet I know I want to to become a visual development artist and specifically a character designer, which is far from a common career here in Mexico. I've been struggling a lot in whether I should finish my current studies and later go into animation or just change even I'm half way college. I dedicate all my free time to study on my own, but I know I still need to improve A LOT, and sadly my current career is very absorbing. So I wanted to ask you how did you give that step of changing fields? Was it hard at the time? 
travelingpantscg Featured By Owner May 29, 2014  Professional Filmographer
HI HI!  SO sorry it took me so long to write back.  I'm mostly on other sites these days, and just didn't see this from you till now.  

Super happy this post was out there for you to relate to, and everything you said was something I could relate to right back.  I think it's a common "artist story", tied somewhere with, "My parents didn't want me doing art."  hahaha.  Most people turn out to fit in one or the other.  

For me, life kind of gave me the opportunity to switch paths and I took it.  I got out of my master's degree right when the U.S. recession hit in 2008, and there were simply no jobs of any kind anywhere.  While I looked for work, I kept taking art classes at local community colleges, and I found I kept trying to find jobs that included an artistic element to them.  After like a year of this, my now-husband saw things more clearly than I did, and said, "There's no work, what you really want to be doing is art - go to art school and get the training you need."  Despite the fact that I'd been drawing since I was three, and had known since I was five that I loved most in the world was animation, this was still just about the hardest thing I'd ever had to accept in my life.  I think I probably yelled and cried at him for 2 straight hours about all the reasons I COULDN'T do art, and why my life WASN'T SUPPOSED to be about that, and all the MONEY that I'd already put toward education in different careers, and excuses excuses excuses.  The bottom line that was ultimately undeniable was: he was actually right.  haha.  Art was all I wanted to do, and I was doing myself the biggest disservice by ignoring it.  

I mean, let's address the things that had been holding me back: 1) I thought my parents wouldn't approve because we'd spent too much money and time on different schooling.  2) I was afraid a career in animation wouldn't make me any money.  3) I was afraid I was too old to be changing things up.  What made me go for it anyway: 1) I got my parents on board by discussing how passionate and dedicated I was (like, hello, I'd been their child my whole life, they KNEW all I did in my free time was draw, so they understood this was the real deal). 2) Turns out commercial art makes plenty of money.  3) No matter how old I was, I was always going to want to do this, so it was better to be breaking into the industry at 30 than at 45 (and it turned out I got in at 29, almost 28!  So hey!  hahaha, Better than initially expected!).

My advice would be to ask yourself what you really want to do and what you're willing to put in to make it happen.  I knew that if I was gonna do this and give up everything for it, I had to make myself good enough for the industry to take me, which was a hard task, but was the end goal and thus what needed to get accomplished.  And you also need to have the conversation with yourself of, "If I know I want to do X, why waste time I could be getting there by messing around with Y?"  That's the hardest conversation.  That's when you look at that industrial degree you're working toward and determine what's worth your time.  Because that's what this is: worth and time.  If you spend two more years with an ID degree you won't use and you know you're going to want to pursue art, those are two years you've robbed yourself of improving that art.  This is to be taken with a grain of salt, of course, if you believe there's value for you in the other study.  But it's the hard look you have to take at your situation while being truly honest with yourself.

I hope this helps!
LunaMiranda Featured By Owner May 29, 2014  Student General Artist
Thank you so much for the response and the wonderful help! It means a lot to me that you've taken the time to reply my comment and your advice is just what I needed to hear right now! Although I've decided to finish Industrial Design after a very long talk with myself (cause I've actually learned some very useful and helpful things), I'm now focusing most and not just a little of my time in what I love and my parents are fully supportive 😊 Thanks again! 
imFragrance Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014   General Artist
thanks for the inspiration :) I see myself in your journal. I am now working in a different field- but my dream is becoming a character designer/illustrator. Are you a self-taught artist? How did you manage to come to the point where you are at now ?
travelingpantscg Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014  Professional Filmographer
You're so welcome.  So glad it could hit home!

I was a self-taught artist up until about 4 years ago, at which point I started attending Art Center College of Design to get the structure and industry-understanding I needed.  It was a great school, and I have a significantly broader grasp on art because of it, but most of my character learning was still self-propelled (ACCD is a design school, not an animation one).  I would say that what made Art Center such a game-changer for me was that it made the animation industry feel like a tangible, accessible business, versus a big, gauzy dream I couldn't touch.  Like, you see all those movies growing up, and read the art-of books, and you think, "Who DOES this magic?  How would they ever notice me?  How could I ever be a part of that?"  At least, that was what I felt.  haha.  But when the industry became more real to me, a business I could contact, then I started realizing the importance of making connections, going for portfolio reviews and conventions, talking to people and asking questions about what companies looked for.  I also started attending outside seminars and workshops taught by industry professionals so I could get their direct insight and feedback.  

It's a SMALL industry.  Like so small.  Everyone has worked everywhere and knows everybody, so it's easier to navigate once you're inside.  

I hope this helps.  Feel free to ask any questions if you have 'em. :)  And good luuuuuck!!
imFragrance Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014   General Artist
Thank you so much for replying. I want to attend an art college for animation or visual development MA program, so i am saving monry and working in a different field. Had you ever got another job unrelated to art ?

I have been thinking like you used to do. I mean, i am working for building up my portfolio but i feel like i will never make it there. Not saying only becoming a full time character designer like you, but even freelancing for companies and clients sound like a dream. After reading your message i got a little encouraged, but i also dont know what to do or which path to follow and how.
travelingpantscg Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Professional Filmographer
The only thing I did before this job was interning and temping in Columbia Pictures' story department.  I have two other non-art degrees, and when I went to get a job based on them, the US economy crashed (this was 2008), and nobody was hiring for anything.

The best advice I feel I can give anyone looking to do art is just: do your research.  The less clear you are on the realities of the job or the options you have, the more time and money you'll waste.  So ask questions, start learning about positions.  "Visual development" and "animation" are really broad categories in and of themselves, and then if you throw vague company-freelancing into the mix, you're really giving yourself too many ideas to juggle/  It might make it hard to directly strive for anything.  There are people who study illustration and then go on to do freelance things like covers or pieces for articles in magazines or greeting cards or children's books, etc.  Some of that can be transferred into animation vis dev as well.  Visual development is really its own discipline, though, with many sub-categories branching off of it.  What makes it different than other art forms is that it's really about DEVELOPMENT, as in there's no set idea of the end-goal when you get started.  So you have to be someone who likes exploring ideas and doesn't get married to any of them along the way.  It's also HIGHLY grounded in story-telling, versus simply being pretty pictures.  

So, ask yourself what you really want to do and what you'd love spending your time doing, is what I'd suggest.  It should make things seem less dreamy and more possible.

Hope this just gives you some more food for thought. :)
Sixtine-D Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Student General Artist
I finished High school last year and i'm starting my first year of studies in visual development. I enjoy my school but what I really like is the animation field. I'm really interested in animation and I'm hesitating between keeping on my visual development studies or trying to enter an animation school next year. I still don't really know what I will do but you made me realize that I should do what I really desire and that if I work hard I could succeed. Thank you a lot. 
travelingpantscg Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Professional Filmographer
You're SO welcome.  Honestly, that's what it comes down to: what YOU want to do.  There's no reason to pour so much effort into something you like second best, when that time could be spent improving on the thing you love.  Each day away from it is one day less you could be getting closer to what you want.  All the best of luck!! :D
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