Well I finally figured it out! It’s taken me 26 years to get here but here I am with a plan for what I want to be when I grow up!
It would have been so useful to have come to this conclusion 12 years ago when I was picking electives in high school, or 8 years ago when I was picking a college and a major but I guess late is better than never so no complaints!
I’ve been reading Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon and it’s finally solidified “Illustrator” as a real profession for me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to be but I never felt it was a tangible career for me. For whatever reason I never felt I could actually make a living doing the thing I love to do most (draw). How did I miss this?!
The art teacher I had in high school nudged me to be a creative writing major because as a part of my senior show I wove in a bunch of poems I had written and he figured that was what I was really passionate about, I took that to mean my art wasn’t any good so I shouldn’t pursue it. Additionally my therapist at the time heavily suggest Psychology as a major and since I trusted him so much, that advice in conjunction with the perceived feedback from my art teacher, really pushed me away from Art as a major. Not to mention the very real cultural stigma of “artist” as a profession around the concept of money. Ever heard the term “starving artist”? I now know it’s such bullshit. I’m sure there are a lot more starving wanna-be-lawyers and medical-school-drop-outs than there are real working artists, but no one talks about that do they?!
The truth is it doesn’t matter that I’ve come to this realization now and not when I was 16, what matters is that I have and I’m so so excited about it!
Even if it takes me the next 10 years to get there that still puts me at 36 as a working professional illustrator which is so much more exciting than any of the other varied professions I’ve thought about pursuing. For once I feel like I know what I want to do with my life and I have a real path, how wonderful is that!