A Disciplined Illustrator

Since I decided to make this site about illustrating most exclusively I had a vision of providing information directly from my experiences as an illustrator. Unlike prior posts here and posts on the sister site TheOWLE.Wordpress.com this information is neither purely a narrative account of being an artist, nor is it purely knowledge based instruction.

My vision for Exempla Vitae is to pass on wisdom attained from pursuing a full-time career as an illustrator.

I occasionally do one shot watercolor class, but mostly my activities have been based in cartooning for Bacon Wrapped Frog (BaconWrappedFrog.Wordpress.com), freelance, plein air painting, and personal projects.

The goal I wish to achieve is to have passive income (ongoing), freelance work (frequent commissions), gallery shows (maybe 2 a year), and a business in which I get to collaborate with creatives from other persuasions on unique and groundbreaking projects and products.

An artist must be disciplined and learn not only the craft and creativity behind their work, but must learn to be quick and technical. An illustrator must learn to balance using their style and process in such a way as to please their client or themselves if they have a personal project.

My time is divided between learning from other artists, ala copying their work in studies; learning anatomy; drawing animals; cartooning; and executing freelance work for other people.

Make no mistake learning to illustrate is central. No matter if I paint from life or draw from my imagination it all plays a role in learning the art and craft of storytelling visually.

I use time first thing in the morning and a 30 Day Art Challenge to keep me disciplined. Squeezing time in never really works, but finishing what you start and pursing passion and purpose over duty works even better.

Duty works if your attitude is set in that direction. Yet, you cannot turn off your emotions when creating work. Daily steps have to be taken to pursue one goal.


Wise Artists

Grasping for wisdom is hard.

Wisdom is both intellectual and spiritual.

Knowledge stays with you in your mind. It is remembering.

Wisdom is driven from your heart to your mind.

You can know something in 2 ways.

When you know with your mind, it is knowledge.

When you know with your heart, it is wisdom.

Why is wisdom hard and knowledge easy?

Comparatively, wisdom is hard and knowledge is easier. Sometimes to have knowledge you must go and inquire. Interviewing can be easy, but direction is primary. Where do you go? Who do you talk to? This can be hard.

Wisdom comes with experience.

You have no head knowledge of something and yet gain wisdom.

We are in a society driven by head knowledge without moral character. In fact, we are in an information and even data driven culture. Base knowledge drives the culture.

The honest application of wisdom results in moral character.

If you are an artist, moral character will help you deal with your own issues and the issues that come from other people.

In the most difficult situation, you will make the right choice. This will result in favor.

Our moral character as artists will determine the content of our art.

The content of our art will change hearts and minds and will improve the world. 


Wisdom AND Knowledge

I have been experiencing a shift in my thinking over the last 5 years.

A lot of it has come reading the book of Proverbs written mostly by King Solomon and his cohorts.

Before, I thought that knowledge was enough to get by in life.

Knowledge is accumulated facts that make sense together.

You can collect facts, but have no real knowledge.

Trivia are seemingly insignificant facts.

More important, knowledge can be trivial if you do not know how to apply it.

Wisdom is the application and experience gained from applying knowledge.

Conventional wisdom is passed down or regurgitated wisdom.

People use common sense to determine if a choice lines up with the natural way of things.

Common sense is a bare minimum form of conventional wisdom. It is easily tested.

But who tests conventional wisdom or common sense anymore?

In ancient times, Israelites had prophets, judges, scribes, and rabbis. Hindu's had gurus. In the Greco-Roman world there were philosophers. Medicine men, wise men, and sages of all varieties helped guide day-to-day life.

They all pretty much had one thing in common...they derived their wisdom from the spiritual.

In the Christian church today we have pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets, and apostles to guide in the same manner.

We have done a great job as artists passing down knowledge.

There is a lot conventional wisdom, facts, and studies passed around for the artist's benefit.

But, is there any real wisdom for artists to grasp? Can artists go above and beyond knowledge of craft and business to actually being people of moral character? Does moral character have to be private or can we let our wisdom shine?


Story Is Uncomplicated


There is something profoundly inspiring in simplicity.

Life is rarely simple, but as humans our goals and missions are simple.

We do not complicate our desires.

It is either that we want something or we do not want it.

A story is the path from the conception of that desire to its fulfillment in reality.

It may take one minute, one hour, or many lifetimes to come to the conclusion of that desire, but what happens in the bracket of time until the desire is fulfilled is a story.


Where Do Solutions Come From?

I want to clarify some points on learning, giving, submission, and position and how being where you are at now can be an advantage where you will go next.

Six years ago when I was laid off, I had a hard time disciplining myself to find a job.

Each week, my unemployment pay off required that I apply for 2 jobs in my field a week.

Well, one of the jobs I applied for was a delivery driver at an auto parts store.

My nerves and tiredness from worry, fear, and a varying schedule got to me. I hated my situation: "This couldn't be God's plan, could it?"

I scratched a couple of delivery vans in the midst of my weakness.

This offense caused me to get demoted and my hours significantly reduced.

Ironically, ended up as an early morning stock boy. I enjoyed this a little more.

I was responsible, with a team of guys to shelve auto parts in the shelves in the back of the store.

With my hours reduced, I resumed job hunting.

I got an interview, where I currently work.

As a result of my failures and my proven skills in shelving categorically and organizationally it reflected on my resume. 

After I had gotten the job, my supervisor told me that this skill set was the primary reason that I got the job.

This is not about your resume, but your character. Take advantage of all applicable skills you can on your resume, don't leave one out.

But realize that you are an artist and you can create solutions to problems.

Where do those solutions come from?

God and your experiences...No one else can give them to you.