Here are what I feel are some of the best answers of 2010 to my question; If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Visit the participating cartoonist's sites by clicking on their name and read all their answers to the Cartoonist Survey by clicking the link beneath their name.
Cartoonist Survey #45
"Go full bore or not at all. It's too hard to make a living out of it if you're just playing at it. You have to make sure you do everything you can to make it happen and if it doesn't anyway, then you've at least tried your damndest and can blame the rest on fate. And never take on work that you're not interested in. Make sure you love what you're doing while your doing it and remember to notice that -- otherwise it's all just drudgery. And there's enough of that to go around already.
Also never ever never miss your deadlines. Don't do it. You can make a career off of this alone -- and you can ruin a genius career by doing it’s opposite."
"Never give up, but always be honest with yourself. You need to have a tiny Simon Cowell in your head."
Cartoonist Survey #89
"Be happy with your skill level today, but don't be happy if you have the same skill level tomorrow. Never stop working to improve and aim high in your work."
Cartoonist Survey #103
"Really, this advice applies to anyone and any career: Only do so if you love it. Do it because it's your passion. Do it because you couldn't imagine doing anything else. If you aren't doing it for those reasons, you'd be better off doing something else."
Cartoonist Survey #113
"Draw from life. Draw what's around you. People complain that drawing hands and feet are hard; there's no excuse for that. You've got hands on the ends of your arms and feet at the ends of your legs always available to model for you. I think drawing from life is especially important for cartooning because cartooning is the art of simplifying and distilling reality to its essence. It's amazing how many people can draw a galaxy-sized machine devouring a planet full of laser-mounted dragons but can't draw a woman in a business suit talking on the phone. Also, nurture interests outside of art and comics. You've got to be a smart, informed, well-rounded person with knowledge and opinions. I know a lot of people who can draw better than me who never got the art career they wanted because, although they could make pretty pictures, they had no other interests and nothing original to say about anything. Readers want that special point of view that only you can bring to the table; develop *you*."
Cartoonist Survey #120
"Aside from the usual advice to draw all the time, I would encourage anyone who's serious about making a living in art (or more specifically, cartooning) to find a way to get their work in print as soon as possible, and as frequently as possible. The cost of self-publishing comics these days is low enough for just about anyone to afford. You don't need a big distributor like diamond to get your comics into comic shops... you just have to go through the work of visiting those shops, talking to the owners, building a relationship, and getting your work out there. My first comics were self-published, and I hustled them all over the place -- including renting a table at the San Diego comic con. It was because of those comics and because of being at that convention that I got my first opportunity to be a storyboard artist. You gotta get your work OUT THERE where it can be seen by people that will help further your career."
Cartoonist Survey #124
"Be able to take criticism. Sometimes you will suck."
Cartoonist Survey #125
"Draw and draw and put it out there where people can see it and don't dawdle. I dawdled around for a while and regret (some) of it. And don't worry about "style"; that'll come when you need it."
Cartoonist Survey #134
"You need to have a fundamental compulsion to draw. If I weren’t getting paid assignments, I would still be making comics on my own. I can’t help it! The best way—the only way, in my view—to get professional work is to show that you are motivated from within."
Cartoonist Survey #141
"Don’t give yourself a plan B. Without a Plan B, you’ll be forced to make your plan to be an artist work. And get yourself educated on business. It’s as important as the art itself."
Cartoonist Survey #142
"Whenever I take on a goal in life, I always approach it like the Vikings who used to burn their ships behind them when they went into battle, so they couldn’t retreat. I have to be the best at whatever it is I do. And it’s helped me attain most of what I’ve accomplished in my professional journeys. If you truly want to do this, you have to approach it like a serious life choice. You have to be all in. You must tell yourself, “I’m going to be the best comic book illustrator. Or greeting card cartoonist. Or oil painter.” And then do that very thing. And if you need training or other areas of help to achieve that, do it. I mentioned a vampire analogy before, and it’s true. You have to have a bloodthirst for this stuff. And I don’t necessarily mean financial success. You have to be the very best at your vocation. No excuses. Anything less is called fry cook."
Cartoonist Survey #168
"Only do it if you really, really love it and are really interested in it. If it bores you even a little or seems tedious or too much work -- it's either not for you or you are approaching it wrong. Find the part of it that you most enjoy and concentrate on that."
Cartoonist Survey #176
"Stick to what you believe in and never work for less than you're worth. As my Dad used to say, you'll always be busy if you work for free!"
Cartoonist Survey #180
"Too many artists, especially new ones, undervalue their work because they feel like they're just lucky be doing it at all. And it's true; this is something you do for love, not money. But that's no excuse for not treating it like a business, being a professional, knowing your rights, and trying to make it as profitable as you can."
Cartoonist Survey #183
"My standard answer is two words for all aspiring artists and musicians -- "Marry well."
A more serious answer would be -- learn to draw everything and then find the best way to make a living at what you love. When you start your career DRAW for everyone. Make signs for the local shop with bad signs, redesign ads for all the businesses that have truly awful ads, make t-shirt designs and really just use your art in every way that you can to make this a more interesting and creative world. Do birthday and holiday cards for people and give the world something that is unique and original!!! With all the artists on this planet, one would think that we would see great art everywhere. Instead, we in the United States see mostly corporate box stores and ugly urban architecture and terrible signs. There is very, very little good art on anything mainstream from the Internet to the TV to our print ads. Big soulless companies do not understand what good art is 99% of the time. Precious few American magazines even run cartoons and even fewer use illustrators. There is lots of room for excellent art."
David Wasting Paper wishes you a safe, happy and prosperous New Year!