As a young artist trying to find my way in the world, I stumbled across Twitter and blogging, as a way to get my work seen, but also to connect with others like me. I follow lots of young artists/illustrators I admire, and enjoy catching up online with all the lovely work they produce. I also feel there's a brilliant community online, particularly on twitter, between illustrators and crafty types. We all support each other, and that's so wonderful.
But I have to ask...how many of us are really making a living out of this?
I don't know if this is just me, but it almost seems like a taboo subject. We talk on and on about new projects and new prints and collaborations, but is there a little part of us that is, dare I say it, pretending?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not out to criticise anyone. I completely understand how focussing on the positives is always a better use of time, and no one wants to hear about your double shift at the restaurant anyway, do they?
I'm just wondering if somewhere along the line illustration has become a bit of a fantasy.
All throughout school and on into uni, I had this sparkling dream of becoming an illustrator. I grew up on Beatrix Potter, and will always and forever remember the opening credits of the television series. Beatrix sitting on a hill side painting the landscape, Beatrix drawing at her desk, conveniently scattered with rabbits. My dream! I thought. I love animals, I love painting, I love working alone. That, I decided, was what I was aiming for.
But needless to say, that hasn't happened for me, and I'm 99% sure that it wont be an option for me for a very, very long time. Besides, Beatrix had her family's fortune to live off whilst producing her illustrated books - and, in this day and age, who can freelance AND buy a farm house in the Lake District?! An unrealistic dream Holly.
|Delusional cupcakes anyone?|
For one evening, tonight, now, I'm going to be honest:
I don't know if I'll ever be a 'real' illustrator.
I just don't know. I always thought that if you work really hard and you're focused and you want it more than anything, that you're guaranteed success. But then I joined Twitter and met the hundreds of other 23 year olds working really hard, focussing and wanting it the most and I thought: we can't ALL be illustrators can we? Some of us have to fall by the wayside. And maybe I'm one of those people.
I cry a lot!
I get rejected a lot!
I am jealous of others a lot!
But that's ok right, because we're all in this together? I guess that's what I'm really asking.
I know I need to stay strong, I need to keep on dreaming, both in my head and on my blog, but as the recession squeezes, and as I'm being made redundant ( sigh ) I feel it's time to russle the curtains, and reveal a glimpse of how it really feels sometimes, to know exactly what you want to do with your life, but finding it out of reach.
Say it with me now: sometimes, being an artist is not all its cracked up to be.