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Being an Artist: Pros and Cons

Journal Entry: Wed Mar 23, 2016, 1:19 AM


So tonight while skimming through my facebook on break, I saw a post from Tumblr. I don't know how many of you have seen this or if it's true. I'm assuming it is, but the point I will make to you is the same. Before I post it, let me make this little aforementioned statement:

I will be talking about life as an artist from MY perspective and how it is to choose art as a profession. I will touch some subjects, so:

1. If you are considering doing art as a career, please read.
2. If you have children who are artists, please read
3. If you have friends who are artists, please read.
4. If you have friends who are struggling with parents/family who are unsupportive, show this post to them on FB/tumblr. It is full of supportive comments.

I hope that if you are struggling like the kid in this story, you'll find some peace in these post on FB/Tumblr and what I have to say.

Original post on FB: post is here
Original Poster on Tumblr: a-game-of-romance-and-winchest…

1920077 494192494026355 527491207 N by Ahkward

""

So let me tell you about the shittiest parent on the motherfucking planet.

I work at a grocery store and this man comes in with his 11 year old son. He buys a pack a cigarettes and a two cases of beer. The son was holding a two dollar drawing pad and placed it on the belt and I guess the dad didn’t notice it at first but when I was about to scan the pad he asked where’d it have come from and turned towards the kid and asked “Did you put that shit up there?”. He told me to put it back and then told his 11 year old child that he “ain’t paying for that gay ass notebook.”. So I looked at the kid, who was close to tears and saying how he ran out of paper at home and my heart broke. So I gave the pad to him, for free, and told the dad I would take care of it. I gave the kid some tokens for a game outside and said I would look forward to buying some of his drawings and paintings when he’s all famous. He kids face was so priceless and I thought everything was good. But then, about 10 ten minutes after giving the kid his notebook, I walked outside and saw this. The drawing pad all ripped up and tossed on the pavement. I could only imagine what happened in the parking lot, but I know that that poor kid heart is fucking ripped apart, just like this pad.

I’m fucking horrified that there are parents like this, who, just because it’s not masculine or gender specific. they won’t let their children follow their true passions or explore interests that lead to their happiness. Even more so, I’m horrified that parents don’t care about the fine arts anymore because it doesn’t have job security. Since when did it ever matter to a child if their passion makes them money or not? Parenting is about supporting whatever makes your child happy. Have some fucking consideration for your child’s wants not your homophobic and anti-art ideals.

""




So, my thoughts on this:

1. We all know that this is normal. This is DAMN NORMAL behavior of people and for some freaking reason our society accepts this. They accept treatment of artists this way. They accept that it's ok to treat people like this.

2. It's NOT ok. It's not ok treat anyone, children, adults, anyone this way. As artists, we know this, all of us have felt or experienced this to some degree, from either someone we know.... or more likely someone we don't know. My own family was incredibly against it at first. To some degree they still are, some of them are better than others. Then while in college, I often heard how it was a stupid career. I'll be poor forever and I was initially kicked out of my home with my family for choosing to go to art school and quitting my normal job to focus on my animation classes.

3. This parent told this child he was wrong to do these things, like drawing. He was wrong to want to draw. He hinted that drawing is a girly or unmanly thing to do. This man never paid attention in art or history class because traditionally in classical, only MEN were artists. Most times, women weren't even allowed to study in art classes because it was considered obscene for women to see nude figures, which most masters used to teach their students. Yet... most figures were naked men or women themselves. -_-'

4. He then takes the book and rips it up and ruins it, showing not only does he think what teh kid wants is bad, he PHYSICALLY take it out on the kid. Actions speak far louder than words. I can relate. I had my family take away my sketchbooks as a kid, so I can relate, but they were never torn up like that. I stopped drawing just due to them being taken away and didn't really pick it up again until college. So that action had a huge impact on me.

Now I'll get to the important part:

Pros Vs Cons


This list is based on my own experiences. I have TWO college Art degrees, an Associate's (2yr) in Animation and a Bachelor's (4yr) in Illustration. I have been freelancing for four years in June, so I have some experience, but I still have a lot to learn. So take this with a grain of salt.

Pro #1: You get to draw everyday. This is damn awesome if I do say so, and it's a treat to wake up and realize you get to draw. EVERYDAY! For your JOB. You are your own boss and determine your schedule (sort of). 

Con #1: You have to draw EVERY DAY (or almost everyday). Not only do you have to draw everyday, you have a life, or want one. You also have bills, groceries, possibly a second job (or like me a 2nd and 3rd). Many times, professional freelance work has DEADLINES. That is JUST like homework, and if you miss those deadlines, it looks bad on you and will make it harder to get future work as your reputation worsens. It'll make you look unreliable. Sometimes Deadlines suck balls and you can't go out to do the things you want to. Also, no editor/company cares about your art block. Get it done. You are your own tax govt (since your taxes you have to pay 4x a year if you make more than 500$ in a year), you are your own accountant (though you can get a business banker to help like I have), you are your own advisor, you are your own everything unless you can pay/find people to help. IF you mess up, it'll come down on your head since it is your business.

***

Pro #2: You get to draw all kinds of things! You never know what you'll be asked to draw, so it can help keep you from getting bored. For hobbyists, this is the main reason I hear for WHY they are hobbyists. They get to draw whatever they want when they want. :'D

Con #2: You might rarely get to draw what you want to. Your commissioners determine what you draw, and while you can deny any job you think will be boring... do you think your water or electric company will care? Nope. No money equals no bills paid.

***

Pro #3: You have a gift/talent/skill that a lot of people wish for. I often hear people tell me that they could draw or be creative in some way, writing or dancing ro singing. These are all artistic skills.

Con #3: Often times, people turn this desire into jealousy. Am I saying that everyone who hates on you is jealous, no. But I have learned that a lot of people WANT what you can do, no matter how you express yourself. They get jealous that you can "do nothing" and get paid for it. You can "have fun" and "never have to work". What they don't understand is that anyone can draw, but those who do it well pursued it, and didn't let people stop them or they lived in the environment that allowed just desires and skills to thrive.




Being an artist is hard. It's not easy to take something people in general deem as worthless both in time and money. However they are all wrong an ignorant. It isn't a gender specific job or hobby either. It's something anyone can do, just like everything else in life, regardless of gender, age, race, sexuality, anything. Now, to avoid beating a dead horse to life and death again, consider this:

I have been freelancing for 4 years, and last year, I only made about 3000$ in 6 months. I counted 6 months because I was in college the first 6 months-ish and only made about 300$ the first six months. I have made in 2.5 months 376.58$ profit of THIS YEAR. That means that after you take out everything I've spent money on, then take away all my business expenses (including bills and stuff), that's the leftover/profit. That's pathetic for a freelancer. However I consider that the last three months, I've been insanely comic heavy and doing little freelancing. I also had to pay for the convention this coming month, I've had to put out for healthcare since I'm not insured anymore. I have also had to print and ship a lot of things this year for some reason? XD

I don't make much on that. Also comics, after each comic, I made on average $0.50-$2.00 PER COMIC BOOK. I sold 115 books at 15-20$, so that's 60$ on the low end of profit and 200 on the high end. That's not counting the printing for teh second time, 375$, so I have to take that out of the profit i would have made. So on the high end of profit, I still LOST money, almost 200$ in the hole on that after you take out the second printing cost. Granted it was my choice, but that's how business works. You win some you lose some, you just hope you win more than you lose. XD That's the secret.

I have done very few commissions since I have been working on the comic. Most of my gigs are 10-20$. I make more at Walmart in 2 weeks than I made all year so far in freelancing (in terms of profit). It's a tough career and you have to put in lots of time and effort. You have to devote yourself to it if you are going to make it. My life costs me about 2000$ a month between loans and bills. That's a lot of money. XD Damn. However, I have multiple jobs to make it work. As tired as I am everyday and as rough as it gets at times:

I would change nothing. I would happy work three jobs or two forever if it meant I can have a job in comics/freelancing.

I enjoy my job. I get to draw, and tell stories. I do make it, I do survive and two of my three jobs are art. :la: That's pretty damn cool if you ask me. 
I get to do a job I love and other people do jobs they hate most times. Some people also love their jobs and do well in their fields. Some people take jobs only for money and live miserable. They look at materialistic goals and aims as motive for what they do, yet I never see them happy.

I might be poor in perspective to them. I don't have a new car. I don't have a big apartment. I have debt (about 94k by now with interest). I have no time for games, or fun things on the weekends (since I work 18hours Fri-Mon). But I have a great job, I have a passion and I have a great internship ahead of me. I still have people who tell me I'm making a mistake, family, friends and strangers. I have them ask me what drives me to take such a risky lifestyle, one that is likely to leave me poor or unsuccessful. I usually smiles at them and tell them:

Because I love my job and I don't define success as making a LOT of money. I define it as making ENOUGH money. There is quite a difference.

Skin by blissart (modified by Ahkward)
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:iconbiancsterz:
Biancsterz Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I cried ;-; this is too sad
This reminds me of a similar story:
I remember my uncle's face when he saw me drawing in his house. He was reminiscing back to his childhood when he used to draw. He loved drawing, but his parents were against it (they said it was a waste of paper). So whenever he drew on his school notebook, he'd crumple it, so his parents won't find out. But he didn't throw them away.
Reply
:iconseionara:
seionara Featured By Owner May 26, 2017  Student General Artist
Seriously? I can understand not wanting to pay for it or telling the child that they'll have to pay part of it, some parents are willing to support their children more than others and sometimes it can be a good idea to let the children know that they'll eventually have to buy stuff with their own money, especially if their hobby is quite expensive (or can become quite expensive), but outright refusing to even give him the possibility to get it? That's just horrible.
Reply
:iconahkward:
Ahkward Featured By Owner May 26, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
Honestly my family is the type to make me do it on my own, however over time they have become less and less supportive. I can understand the position of the kid, and it is sad this still happens a lot.
Reply
:iconseionara:
seionara Featured By Owner May 26, 2017  Student General Artist
What shocks me most is that the guy didn't just not get it but outright destroyed it after the child got it as a gift. Mine buy the pencil lead and something for my birthdays, they are supportive and my mom sometimes gives me a little extra money, mostly by rounding the sum I have to give her back down if I had been so stupid and left my purse at home but I kinda feel bad if I don't at least try and get most of it with my pocketmoney and whatever I else I can get on my own. 
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:iconahkward:
Ahkward Featured By Owner May 26, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh I always pay for it myself. I have two degrees in art. I'm a big kid now. But still, having supportive family makes you really lucky
Reply
:iconveesketch:
veesketch Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2016  Student Digital Artist
God, that poor kid :( This is actually pretty inspirational though, thanks for sharing :D
Reply
:iconrainfreezer:
rainfreezer Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2016
thank you so much for writing this ahk ;;; as a high school student struggling to make a decision regarding my career, i really do relate to some of what you say although i am still conflicted...
Reply
:iconahkward:
Ahkward Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
No problem! I'm glad it could help you. Honestly, you cannot ever know if this is something for you until you try it. That's why the best advice I can give you is to go to a community college first and take your basic art classes. See how you handle being TOLD what to do and try a variety of things. Take more than art classes, maybe things that pique your interest and see if you like those more than art. You cannot know until you try. Community college is VERY cheap compared to a state college or university.

Some people love art, but hate being told what to draw and how to draw it. So in that case, unless you do fine arts, you'd likely do poorly as a professional artist. You cannot survive without being able to take directions. Even if you go into comics or crafts, you'll have to work for other people, take commissions and have customer service skills. That means taking orders. So if you cannot do that well, then either get those skills or learn to handle being told what to do.

When it comes to money, some people can make it faster than others. I'm not one of them, I've had to work freelancing and a dayjob just to make ends meet, THEN I can do my comic, which pays me right now, but very small amounts of money. So you'll also likely have to have multiple jobs to be a professional artist. EVen once you start making money, you'll likely have multiple projects at once. This all sounds scary as a young person, I'm sure. But you figure it out as you go. You learn too adjust, and if it's really meant for you, you'll find a way.

So start off easy in college, take some classes and move on from there.
Reply
:iconcomethegriffin:
CometheGriffin Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016
Grr.. If I could be Pikachu when that happened. Electro Ball to the crotch!
Reply
:iconlarebabysaiyan:
larebabysaiyan Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016  Student General Artist
Good Grief!Some people are so horrid.That poor kid.:(



Great outlook and views.
Reply
:iconsylvianfox:
SylvianFox Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh. My. Lord. WTF people? It saddens me to see parenting like this. And I think that even if he didn't choose art as a career it could have been an awesome hobby! And starting at a young age is the best time because by the time they are an adult they have a chance at getting so good they might even get a full-funded scholarship ride through college! And who knows what the art career will hold in the future. Maybe in a couple years art will be all the rage for EVERYONE and everyone will want to buy it, draw it, support it. Maybe that kid would have gone into animation and get a job at a professional studio! And what about graphic arts? Logo design? Magazines? Billboards? People get paid big money to design things like these. If he became a painter he could make a LOT of money as well. Especially if his style lifted off. Heck, he could even find his calling on deviantart as a closed species designer or maybe even a Patreon user! I mean, look at Sakimichan, making something like, 40,000 dollars a week? Some ridiculous amount they very much deserve. Also. There are PLENTY of straight men who draw. So his father is very narrow minded (more so than is obvious) for thinking that drawing is a feminine thing. ESPECIALLY when all the famous artists in the late eras were prominently men in the first place.

I hope that child doesn't loose hope and becomes one of those kids who grows up strong. One of those artists that can tell this story and say how they weren't allowed to draw as a child because their father was a (probably drunk and abusive) prick so they made do drawing at school and hiding them in his homework and drawing in the dirt outside and teaching themselves how to draw. This kid. I wish him strength and perseverance. 
Reply
:iconbobbyjoexforgottensb:
BobbyJoeXForgottenSB Featured By Owner Edited Mar 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
and no one called the Children's Aide... this is why i hate tumblr. like all the people below me saying how they want to beat the fuck out of this guy but that is just as wrong as what he did but if i remember this story is around 4 years old, the kid is possibly in highschool now and if it is needed he could go into counseling if hes really bothered by it.i wouldnt worry about the kid, by this time his parents are probably divorced and hes living with his mom

not just that but this shit only happens in the states anyway
Reply
:iconmoonlightelf:
Moonlightelf Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'd personally want to punch the guy on the face... and proceed to kick as hard as I can between his legs so he would never breed again. For three reasons.

1. A literal asshole that simply doesn't deserve to breed anymore.
2. The kid could have drawn something really awesome... like some really cool designs on car. Or done some kick ass tattoos later in life. So drawing something manly... is gay ass thing? Not at all.
3. For wasting fine good paper that was free and coming from someone else's pocket.

Conclusion... that man has deepest corner in deepest part of hell reserved with his name, waiting for him....
Reply
:icongalvan1c-miscr3ation:
Galvan1c-Miscr3ation Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
People are just... I don't know...
They want what's best but often take away what's really best in the process... Ugh.

Yes, some people might not mind a hard life if it means doing what they love. *makes mindblown gesture* this is why people should just mind their own business.
Reply
:iconjackkydaww:
jackkydaww Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Gay ass, huh? Just because he wanted a drawing pad doesn't mean that he doesn't actually doodle cars and buildings in it - he could have (and might still) become a great architect or concept designer for Ferrari or Audi or even have designed the newest shape of the Merc, Bmw or Bugatti in a few years from now you idiot. GAY, isn't it? Yeah......some people make me sick. Honestly. Just wow....just to think what other reasons this fool probably finds to verbally abuse (or worse) the poor child, never mind his wife, ect. -_-' 
Reply
:iconblack-wren:
Black-Wren Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016
This is when I wish we were in a world where a higher power really did decide who could become parents.  Then a loser like that would never have a child.  I hope that boy gets help one day to escape from that man because he is emotionally and verbally abusing the boy and probably physically too.
Reply
:iconmonty-q:
Monty-Q Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
I am on your side with this one. I never had it really bad as a kid, my paretns were very supportive of my drawing. I would beat myself up more than anyone else, thinking that my art was just shit. Now however I have found who I want to be in terms of art. Good post man. Thumbs Up 
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