"My main advice for art college students today would be to really think about the type of work they want to be doing," says Jonathan Woodward. "To think about the type of commissions they really want - rather than what they think they should be doing - and then create a career and portfolio that reflects this."
Lately I've been lurking around an illustration forum, where often struggling artists post about how they can't seem to get their careers started. When I visit their online portfolios, they're usually a jumble of logo designs, watercolor paintings, little doodles of dragons and still life paintings.
It's become increasingly clear to me that the question they should be asking themselves is not "what should I do" but "what do I want to do?" I get the feeling that a lot of these frustrated artists don't really know what they want. As Noah Bradley once put it, they just have vague notions of wanting to "do art."
So I keep trying to repeat the advice from Woodward above:
- Decide what you want to do.
- Research the market.
- Create a relevant portfolio.
It all begins with the simple step of deciding what you want!