Photo by Chelsea Francis
It's been two full years now since I "quit my day job" as an art teacher to take on the adventure of being a full time artist. Wowzer. I've written two posts previously about being a "novice" freelancer (you can check them out here and here), where I shared what I was learning on this journey.
Journey is a perfect word to describe the past two years. And now that I've put some distance between those first few months and where I am now, I feel like it's time to confess a few things.
Sometimes I have no clue what I'm doing.
Yep, I said it. And it's true. But guess what? I figure it out.
Two years ago the only thing I knew how to do in Photoshop was change the contrast on a photo and pop some writing on top of it. I was a graphic design major in 2000 for about 5 minutes, so I'd never taken a single class in Adobe anything. But all of a sudden, my lettering was getting me jobs designing invitations, creating logos, and a vast array of other opportunities that I had never done. At the time, I couldn't have told you the difference between a jpg and a png if my life depended on it. And Illustrator? Forget it.
But I figured it out.
And soon things got easier. I got used to my Bamboo tablet. I learned how to take my scanned images and clean them up. I bought an artograph lightbox and took my lettering to a new level. I watched videos, read tutorials, spent time researching at the books store, but mainly, I just figured it out.
A few months ago I started entering design contests through Minted. The only problem? I'd never used Illustrator. Then a few of my designs started getting selected, and guess what, I had to figure it out.
(Speaking of, I'll have a few new art prints for sale from the "Eye of the Beholder Challenge" which is really exciting. Here's a peek at one of them:)
And that's what, after two years, I think I've learned the most - figuring out things may be stressful, overwhelming, and scary, but it's the best way to grow as an artist.
If, in the beginning of this journey, I had just stuck to doing the things I was comfortable with, I'd never have the opportunities I'm getting now. And I'd never feel that thrill of discovery - which is the essence of creativity.
So next time you get stuck on a project - don't give up. Keep pushing yourself, and sooner or later, you'll figure it out.