I love being an artist. The only time I’m happier than when I’m drawing is when I’m writing. Art is a special kind of communication for me – a love language shared between myself and the image coming to life on paper. However, it’s not all ease and romance, and since I have several friends who are considering branching into art-selling, I thought I’d cover a few of the pros and cons.
• Sometimes, my muse is a brat. She folds her arms and turns her back on me, and I’m left scrapping and re-scrapping every attempt. This can be detrimental and aggravating, especially if I’m working on a commission. It can take a ridiculous amount of months to come up with a finished product that satisfies me, because I refuse to send out less than my best. The client didn’t pay for my mediocrity. [Note: when my commissions take a particularly long time, I send along something extra I know the client will appreciate to make up for the extended deadline.]
• Sometimes what the client requests just isn’t possible, and there are times I need to tell them that I lack the ability to draw what they want. This is never easy, but I have to be willing to admit that there are some things I just can’t do, no matter how hard I try. I’m still learning (and will hopefully always be) and there are some things I simply haven’t mastered yet.
• I get to make money doing something I love. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of receiving a payment and an “I love it!” from a client, when you thoroughly enjoyed every second of the making.
• I get constant practice. There are days I don’t feel like drawing but I have to anyway, because I have a commission waiting. A few minutes into it and I’m back in the groove. It keeps me from getting rusty.
• I get to draw things and people I would never draw otherwise. I’ve drawn lizard-men and Art Nouveau-style Silmarillion illustrations and graphic-novel-style pictures of Chris Evans. I get to kick back, turn on an anime, and channel creative energy into making something that will hopefully please someone else whenever they look at it.
So do I think you should do it? I do. The fun and satisfaction far outweigh the struggles and frustrations, although frequently if you look into my room you’ll see me slapping my face with a sheet of blank paper, hoping to imprint the desired idea onto the page. [It hasn’t worked yet.] But I firmly believe that creating good art is completely worthwhile, even when it drives me up the wall, and if you can make money doing it – shoot for the moon. Just don’t overcharge.