Doing It

I’m aspiring to make a living as an artist/illustrator.

Three days ago, I accepted a job offer as a Data Entry Specialist that will go for 1-2 years (that’s my timeline. The company would honestly appreciate someone more long-term, but they took me up anyway).

Eh? How does this Data Entry thing help with the whole art thing???

For the past year and a half, I’ve been majorly dependent on my parents to pay for a lot of things most people my age already have tucked into their responsibility belts. Gas, phone bill, car, car tires, etc.

Super. Basic. Stuff.

Here’s how the timeline went down:

  • 2 months were spent in Japan on a mission trip.
  • 6-7 months were spent painting fine art, interning with artist Michael Shane Neal, assisting local artist Kellie Montana with art and show prep, and getting ready for my own booth show in February 2015.
  • The next 3-4 months were spent exploring and creating in the illustration field. I experimented with various digital and traditional mediums (pencil, oil painting, Photoshop, etc.).
  • May 2015 I went to this annual event called Spectrum which showcases illustrators, providing phenomenal connection points for visiting artists, teachers, and art directors.
  • After getting my beginner work critiqued at Spectrum, I knew I needed to create a solid body of work in one category. The next 5 months were spent immersed in creating illustrations for mock book covers. 
  • It’s November now. I’ve moved from being immersed in illustration at my grandparents house back to home with family. I discover that my independent mindset doesn’t work when I’m supposed to be dependent on others for help.

This whole time, I didn’t have a job. I wasn’t earning anything. If I needed something, I’d either pretend I didn’t need it (which was stupid), or I’d ask for help (which was humbling, but as least not stupid).

Now that I’ve gone through the mental thing where I realize it’s actually okay to ask for help, I’m intent to take on responsibilities without attributing the success solely to myself.

Data Entry provides a consistent income that meshes with my natural strengths (doing monotonous activities methodically and efficiently) as well as a means to pay off the car, tires, gas, phone bill, etc. Super. Basic. Stuff.

The most important reason I chose Data Entry, however, is because it’s not mentally or physically taxing (to me, anyway). I’m not going to be wiped out when I get home (well, maybe on the left side of the brain) which means I’ll have plenty of energy to spend working on art (right side of the brain!). This is pure theory of course, so we’ll see how the hypothesis goes. Trying to be optimistic. (Shocker!)

The only thing that stands between you and everything you’ve ever wanted to do in life, is doing it.
— Casey Neistat

(CHECK OUT HIS MINI-TALK HERE, STARTS @ MINUTE MARKER 2:10)

I’m at this point where I’ve already read and heard so many “What I wish I had known starting out” stories. In a sense, I know what I’m up against. I know what I’m going to have to plow through to get where I want to be in the next 5-10 years. Knowing, however, is a small fraction of the battle. The major percentage is actually DOING THE WORK.

Working this boring, tedious, non-art job will give me the means to keep pursuing art while learning to juggle the responsibilities of life. It’s as simple as that.

The key is to stay focused on what I’m truly called to do in life, and take the stepping stones to get there. Everything in transition.