in response to a curious character animation student asking for advice & how I got into the biz. I just thought I'd post it in case there are more curious people out there! It's seriously an essay.. GAH! But I hope it's helpful!
Thank you so much for the sweet words! Do you have a website too? I'd love to see your work :)
While at USC, I majored in Communication & minored in Animation. My school only offered a minor. I was sad about it at the time but looking back I'm glad I had a more well-rounded education. I learned how to sell my work and analyze audiences, which is a large part of running your own business. I was also in school when 3D started to become the hot new thing, and I found myself incredibly discouraged because I really hated doing 3D animation. I tried it but my brain just doesn't work that way. Do you do 3D or traditional?
As I started to do more traditional animation, I found that I had a knack for drawing things quickly and expressively, rather than the same thing repetitively. So I started to move more toward drawing singular drawings, where the picture really is worth 1000 words. Haha. I had a full time job out of college doing creative advertising/print production for New Line Cinema, but I still hustled my way to classes across town for figure drawing workshops, animation classes, etc. I made sure I never stopped drawing. Ever. It seems simple but it's so hard to do. I think that's one thing I can recommend you to do.
So, if you love drawing, then you simply love drawing, and animation is just another form of trying to put your drawings in a finished product. Just because you study character animation doesn't mean you have to be a character animator for the rest of your life. I will say one thing about animation though--I've never ever EVER regretted my animation background, lol. When people see my art, they see movement, expression, action which I learned from animation, which is what you're learning now. You're learning story telling in movement. Not everyone can do that. Last week, I met with a children's book editor & he told me that an animation background is something to prize in this market ;) Soo there ya go! There's another option for you.
If you're a talented artist, you don't have to pick just one medium, method or route. There's so much crossover--look at Jon Klassen who does illustration, concept art for animation, fine art and now children's books. Or Scott Morse of Pixar who also does comic books. I highly encourage you to be good at multiple things--you just have to be GREAT at determining which medium, method or route is best for expressing that idea. And have great ideas!
Oh goodness this is long. Haha. Sorry.
I'm not really sure how I got into the business except that I just kept pushing myself to try something that seemed a little out of reach. Like, hey I'll just walk into this store and see if they want to sell my stuff! Or, hey there's a craft fair... let's try it! Rejection is all part of the game, too. But just find out why you were rejected, learn from it, and move on. There are definitely depressing moments in trying to have your own business that entrepreneurs don't really like talking about... having $20 in the bank account (me), having to move back to your parent's house (me), feeling so sad & hopeless that you're not going to make it (me & everyone I'm sure). Everyone who is up there & successful as an illustrator had to pay their dues, work their @$$ off, and fight off anyone who doubted them including themselves. I could tell you not to be discouraged but it's going to happen because it's part of the process. Just keep going. It'll pay off eventually, and before you know it, you've reached the point of no return and you've made a business of what you love.
Again, thanks for emailing me! I'm really excited to help and answer any questions. I was where you are not too long ago, so I know how scary it is. But really, it's all going to be okay if you keep fighting for what you love doing.
if anyone else has questions, don't be a stranger! send me a line! :)