#4: Rediscovery

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have rekindled the fire in my heart for illustration and drawing in general. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always drawn. I have always loved art. I can’t remember when it began because it’s just always been this way for me.

When I was in elementary school, I’d draw dogs, dinosaurs, and dragons (yea, I’ve always been a fantasy nerd). I remember in 2nd grade whenever we’d take a test, my teacher would let those who finished go to the back of the room and do a quiet activity while the rest of the class finished. We could read, play silently with some toys, or draw.

Being the competitive little smarty pants I was, I generally finished first and would head straight to the back and start drawing. As the other kids would finish their tests they’d slowly trickle down to the back as well. But most didn’t pick up a book, or toys, or crayons; they gathered around my desk and watched me.

It made me feel really special and like I was making something that made other people happy. Ever since then I’ve always wanted that to be the main goal of my artwork: to make others happy. When someone looks at something I made and smiles, well shoot, it’s a pretty awesome feeling!

To be honest, I haven’t experienced that in quite a while, until recently. When I started attending junior college in the fall of 2008, I took fine art courses there, continuing on the fine art track I’d always been on. I loved those classes, working in a big open space with a bunch of other creatives. Getting my hands dirty with paints, chalk, pastels, and inks.

But then that ugly nagging thought kept tugging in the back of my head, “Amanda, you can’t make a living doing this, you’ll be a starving artist.” So I started to listen. I decided I better do what my high school counselors said I should do. “Since you like art, you should be a graphic designer!”

At that point, I didn’t exactly have a very good grasp of what Graphic Designers did. I’d hear that all the time and just figure, oh, they do art on computers and get paid. Cool. Maybe I should do that too so I can get paid.

So I began taking Graphic Design courses. I quickly learned that I had no idea how to use creative software and felt rather overwhelmed. Nonetheless, I trudged on, taking my classes, transferred to a local state college and finished out my Bachelor’s in Graphic Design & Marketing.

Notice I say “trudged”. I didn’t exactly love what I was doing. For years I had strayed away from the fine arts path and was doing nothing but work on a computer.

This is not to say that I don’t appreciate it now, or to shed any negative light on the graphic design profession. It’s my day job for goodness’ sake, and yes it totally pays! I am a graphic designer and probably always will be.

However, for me, I realize that my deepest passion and greatest fulfillment is received from drawing on paper and illustrating.

And that's what you have to discover for yourself; your true passion. And once you've discovered it, pursue it relentlessly!