Sep 13 2010
You can be assured that for anyone who has achieved any semblance of success in anything, a great deal of effort was involved. Practice and time are essential in order to refine skill. Natural ability is a real phenomenon but a burning desire is far more dynamic. This particular attribute is extremely beneficial in accomplishing goals. I am aware of many people who unfortunately never capitalized on their particular innate talent. They sat idly by as opportunities quickly evaporated. Such a waste.
On the other hand, though, I have witnessed individuals with an intense yearning unlock truly unique, creative and profitable solutions. Their intense drive compensated for any lack of inherent skill. These characters sometimes even changed the world’s entrenched conceptions simply by challenging the current accepted way of doing things. Through their strong determination the populace grew to embrace this unusual rendition and accepted their new ideas. These folks possessed ingenuity, vision and, at times, sheer will, but fortitude and perseverance was also needed.
If you want to be an illustrator I’m here to tell you that possibility exists. Fine draftsmanship is not as essential as a strong conceptual vision. Illustration is about, well-executed design, composition and application of color. And it’s all about listening and problem solving by utilizing supreme imagination and creativity. The profession also has the business aspect. If you’re working freelance you’ll also need to know basic business principles, accounting and how to develop good client relationships and self-promotion.
As you can see, this is not an easy job.
There are literally thousands of marketable illustrative styles, all of which have been developed through countless years of trial and error and practice. This discipline is a necessary step that cannot be avoided. Keep focusing on the fact that the many who came before you found new ways of depicting the world we live in while developing vital knowledge and skill. There will likely be many disappointments in the beginning. You’ll just have to work through those, knowing ultimate victory is not guaranteed. In order to realize the objective you must never let go of the dream. How daily challenges are handled will determine success or failure.
I’ve taken the journey through the process and have come to know the struggle has rewards. Illustration is how I make my living and I’ve been doing it for over 30 years. I’m one of the lucky people on this earth that love what they do, always different, always a challenge and always trying to get better.
Kurt Pfaff is an illustrator working in Pittsburgh, PA regularly collaborating with numerous agencies and corporations while being happy and lucky. His work can be found on package labels, books, brochures, posters and other printed material or websites. His work also hangs on the walls of galleries and homes. Visit his website at http://kurtpfaff.com