On how to become an artist or a dolphin trainer.
In fourth grade I announced (to everyone) that I was either going to be a comic book artist or a dolphin trainer.
But there were some really big problems straight out of the gate.
For a start I not only had absolutely no talent for drawing, but I came from a family who not only considered my dedication to art a waste of time, but a family that tried at every turn to undercut my dreams and dissuade me from becoming an artist. It seems that dear old mom had a plan for me, and as far as I can work out, that involved getting a nice job at the Revco headquarters cleaning or doing any job with benefits.
You know, any job that offered “stability.”
Stability: the great illusion of our times.
It was heartbreaking for me to notice that nearly every other kid in school could draw circles around me, and once I got to high school and then college, I encountered the same disappointment...
No, seriously... I could not draw a lick.
It just took practice (and a willingness to do "the hard stuff")!
Yeah, I found that having talent or not having talent was irrelevant. What was relevant was the desire to learn.
I was obsessed with learning, with doing, and fearlessly sought out the mentorship of masters like P. Craig Russell, Val Mayerik, Dan Adkins, Frank Thorne, Jeffrey Jones and Jim Steranko. I believed in the dream as if it were my very self, and I worked steadfast as a tin soldier.
As a teacher, in my classes, I talk about “internalizing.” I mean that an art student has to study and study and study until they internalize the information they are studying.
An artist might endure a couple years of anatomy studies, exercises, research and such with no visible rewards for the time spent studying and working.
Ah... but something happens in that time when we study and find our results frustrating... we internalize the information, and later (ideally, if we keep at it) all we have internalized will soon be there for us.
THAT was the miracle that happened to me at University of Akron... all that “not getting it,” all that invisible groundwork I had been doing without any visible results suddenly bubbled up out of me like oil from the ground of ol' Jed Clampett's hills.
I had internalized the things I was studying... and I started to experience breakthrough after breakthrough after breakthrough. It was finally looking like what ever “it” was that I didn't have, I was on my way to getting “it.”
If I can get it, so can you.
You can have these breakthroughs too. If it got through my skull, it can get through yours.
I can help you too.
Check out of my current courses here