019: For love or money?
Wherein we discuss if enough is ever enough
Welcome to week 19 of DRAW or DIE.
One of things that triggers me the most when talking to Artists, are the ones who quit because of money. Either they didn’t make enough, or any at all. I know this is a complicated topic. Many of us set out to make art into a career. It’s “what you want to be when you grow up!” That can be a very long journey. It can take time. Decades even. Especially if you don’t know WHO YOU ARE.
Then, even if you do figure yourself out, there are the outside forces to contend with. The “family matters”. You measure your own success on how much others think you should make, or who you should work for before they deem you a success or “real”.
And what about when you finally make it? When you’re making enough to pay your bills, live a comfortably, or beyond. Then comes the quiet worry. Most full-time artists I know always have this quiet axe hanging over them. Worried that the work will dry up.
More often than not, it does.
Listen, I don’t want to dissuade anyone from a career mindset in the arts. Quite the opposite. I would like to find a better way for as many as possible.
Are you with me on that?
We live in a world now where you have so many tools and so many ways to be discovered. It should be (could be) EASY for a committed artist to be pulling in at least 50k a year and living a comfortable life.
But it’s never enough, is it?
I’ve said “50k” a year to some artists and they scoff at me. They say, how can anyone ever live on that?! “let alone with a family!”
Maybe YOU even read that number and laughed.
It’s totally possible. I know from personal experience. I made less than that and still raised a family. You have to get creative. Live within your means.
And I know this; it was never ever enough for the people around me at the time. So I set out to make more. And I did. And I did, and I did again… At one point I was making about 80k on my best years doing full-time comics and illustrations. It was non-stop work, but I felt great about it.
Clearly I had reached “success”! It was enough right??? I made more than my father or his father, or my in-laws and their people. This was enough, right?
It STILL wasn’t enough.
And dear goodness, I thought maybe I would have some art friends who would clearly support me. But mostly it felt like a pirate ship. (Or pirate port city?) Creators I thought were my friends, suddenly openly criticized my every move. I was a sell-out. Or a charlatan. An opportunist.
Looking back, this did cause me to fall into major depression. I did give it all up for a couple of years. I felt like a total failure and fraud.
It’s bad enough that we artists feel imposter syndrome, only to be bullied by those you looked up to. I still hate thinking about those times.
People will quit WAY sooner than I did. They’ll quit the first time someone they love or admire puts them down or questions their sanity in pursuing the arts.
How do we stop this?
I want you to celebrate all the wins along the way, even the small ones. Maybe it’s $20 someone paid you to draw some fanart, or a caricature. Maybe someone sent you money in an online tip jar. You sold your first original piece of art. Maybe you sold a t-shirt with your art on it, in a free Spreadshop (day job plug! hah!)
And here’s a crazy f**#ing idea, maybe it doesn’t have to be about the money at all. Maybe it’s about your joy, happiness and piece of mind.
That’s what it is for me now.
Just don’t quit something you love over “money”. Please don’t do that. Stay encouraged. Become unreasonably optimistic with your vision and go for it.
And please, please, please…. the most important CALL TO ACTION I can give you in the past 19 weeks of writing these newsletters it’s to ENCOURAGE OTHERS. By any means necessary. Cheer fellow artists on.
We are all in this together. And there is plenty of money, and love for everyone.
Never Quit. Draw Forever.
HEY! I’m doing something fun in this upcoming week of the DAILY drawing prompts. It’s the first “THEME WEEK”, and wherein I’ll challenge you to draw the day’s reference in your own style, and it will form a little story at the end of the week. (try for 7 days free)
This week’s free SUNDAY drawing prompt is:
Last week was “HEART”. Here’s a look at a couple of versions posted into our DISCORD chat! Great stuff. Join our discord! 👉 https://discord.gg/N4CVFphaHn
Over on the Youtube Channel, instead of the regular “speed drawings” artist’s do, I thought I could show you in real time how you can spend just 7 or so minutes doing a drawing prompt / warm-up. I hear all the time artists telling me they have no time… but COME ON! It’s 7-10 minutes a day! Do you want to DRAW or not? You can do it! And you’ll feel GREAT when you do.
Thanks for reading! Back to the drawing board!
Daily Drawing Prompts to keep your pencil and mind moving. Try it for free…