Many ask me a question that’s not easy to answer: “When was the first time you knew you were going to be an artist?” My art has morphed and changed over my life, and I’ve gone through many different phases.
The first indication that I loved to draw came very early. I vividly remember watching Captain Kangaroo over a bowl of cereal when I was about 5. He was a spokesperson for Crayola, and he was showing realistic drawings done in crayon. One was a zebra, and the other a rainbow trout. They looked real. I yelled at my Mom, who was doing dishes in the kitchen, to come look. I said excitedly, as I pointed my little finger at the television, “I’m going to draw like that someday!” My Mom replied, “Then I believe you will.” If you look at the opening chapter in my book “Amazing Crayon Drawing,” you’ll see my renditions of a zebra and a rainbow trout. I didn’t let my Mom down.
But, did I know I was going to do this for a living? Did I go into this with the desire of being a professional artist from the very beginning? Absolutely not! In fact, I never really thought about it. Everything I do with art today is by pure accident. Not one tidbit was preplanned. I just took it all as it came to me, and took advantage of opportunities that came my way.
I could write an entire book (and I just might) about my career. I originally had no clear goal of what I wanted to do as a profession. But I have had an insatiable desire to learn, so I experimented with a bit of everything. I had quit college to raise a family, so I had to learn differently.
One year, when living in South Carolina, I noticed a small commercial advertising company near my home. It was a cute little building on the highway all by itself. Being curious, I went in, wanting to learn about commercial art. I was in my early 20’s. I offered to work there as an apprentice for free while my daughter was in school, just to see how it all worked. They let me, and I absorbed the operation like a sponge. They taught me typesetting, photo restoration, and layout design for advertising. It was amazing, and quite an education. While some would feel I deserved to be paid because I worked so hard, I felt like I got to go to school for free. It was more than worth it. And, it was a great thing to put on a resume.
From that point on, I tried any art-related jobs I could find. Some things worked well, others, not so much. I was paid for some, and volunteered for others. It didn’t matter because I knew it all was going toward my knowledge of the art industry. But, I still had no clear plan. I was just an opportunist.
I’ve had a varied career with adventures I never dreamed of because of my unique approach. While I couldn’t possibly go into each one here, here are a few of my artistic endeavors, any of which you could consider as well.
Careers for Artists
- Police artist
- Commercial artist
- Portrait artist
- Billboard artist
- NASCAR® artist
- Art Instructor
- Art book author
- Mosaic artist
- Art supply demonstrator
- Art supply retailer
- Art supply product designer
- Mural painter
The list can go on and on. As you can see, I’ve had a wide range of art-related opportunities, and I’m sure I’ve even left out a few.
The bottom line is, and the moral of this story is: To be fully creative, and live an art-filled life, one must be willing to step out and try new things and accept that things change. (Like this? Tweet it!) There was a time when I thought my entire career was going to be based around painting landscapes and skies in oil. I did that for a couple of years, and was very happy with it. But in time I craved more. I’m now so grateful that I didn’t pigeonhole myself into one niche.
Go with your artistic moods, and follow your artist’s soul. What’s the real risk? There isn’t one, for all of it is a learning experience. There are no failures. If you just put yourself out there, and try, I promise that it will lead you down a very fun path! It sure did for me! And I’m just warming up!
Have a great week!
Edited by Cherie Haas, online editor of ArtistsNetwork.com
Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!
• Free download! Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques by Lee Hammond