Unearthing creative possibilities: Trish Roque's website, personal blog, & portfolio

Making a living from drawing (or whatever calls to you)

A visitor to my site recently emailed me to ask this question:

Is drawing and making a living doing it, dead..? Is it nothing more than a pipe dream..?

I want to share my response because the issues of self-doubt and discouragement that he brings up are so relevant to many individuals who are trying to heed their calling. Here was my response to him:

Thanks for writing and sharing your experiences with me. In many ways I understand where you are coming from though I have not had the misfortune of meeting people who have discouraged me so bluntly. The only thing I can say about people like the instructor and writer you met is to pass on a quote I read somewhere: “Those who don’t follow their dreams discourage others from following their dream.”

It’s easy to internalize what these people have to say especially when one’s own doubts already exist. I’m just as guilty of this but I try not to listen to people like them. I try to remember the quote above and continue on as though I have not been affected by their words.

The short answer to your question is yes, it is possible to make a living from doing what you love, from drawing. I know this because I have met and become friends with people who are already making a good living from drawing, and from being an artist in general. I sought these folks out intentionally because I knew I could learn from them. I think it is important to be surrounded by people who can be role models. Just as it is true that people who don’t follow their dreams discourage you from following yours, those who are following their calling, encourage everyone they meet to do the same. Take a look at the work of some of the artists who are making a good living from their art and who I was fortunate enough to meet: Sherrie McGraw, David Leffel, Michael Bergt, Star York, Donna Howell-Sickles and Jeff Brock. These are just some of the people I met when I lived in Santa Fe. It took having to move to a place where I was surrounded by artists to get that inspiration.

I think the biggest lesson that I have yet still to learn is that there is no one formula to becoming an artist. Each of these folks I met found their own paths. I think you have to do the same and you must be persistent. Just keep doing what you love and don’t let anyone’s words discourage you. Just keep drawing. Move to a place where you are surrounded by like-minded people who will encourage you. The one thing you need to have to follow your dreams is courage. Take risks and dare to defy the people who told you that you couldn’t make it as an artist.

In the meantime, here’s an online community that I think you will find inspiration from: http://www.dannygregory.com/. He runs a yahoo group called Everyday Matters where ordinary folks encourage each other to keep drawing and stay creative. I’ve also recently discovered the writings of Robert Fritz. He writes about creativity from a perspective that I find refreshing. It’s worth a read just to cleanse yourself from the words of those toxic people in your life. Here are some quotes from his book that I wrote in my blog: http://creativepathstudio.com/blog/2007/05/30/liberating-thoughts/

I hope my words helped. I certainly don’t have the answers and I still struggle at times to stay true to my own calling. But I think in the end you will find that your dream will continue to pester you until you’ve given it your full attention. It will not go away regardless of how many times you let yourself be talked out of it because of other people’s words. You have to at least try, even if it takes your whole life to make it a reality.

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