I first met Gregory Manchess when Vincent DiFate asked me to audit a class he would be teaching for the Illustration Department at FIT. One of the first things Greg had the class do was write their 5-year plan. You need to know where you want to go. Generally. The act of writing it down makes it much more of a commitment. Even if you don’t look at that piece of paper regularly—or ever—somehow, you become unconsiously conscious of it. Try it and you’ll understand what I mean.
You can’t rely on a discovery and no one is going to hand you the career you dreamt of. But, you can step closer to it with each job. Each new job is an opportunity for challenge, discovery and growth. You need to find a perspective in the job which allows you to be challenged. It may not be part of the assignment. You may need to become the challenger yourself. Just as a question leads to an answer, challenge leads to discovery. It isn’t only limited to technical skill, but to all the other ways that art resonates with a viewer: scale, composition, lighting, drama, engagement, interactivity, storytelling.
It’s time to stop window shopping! It has been too often that I’ve witnessed an illustrator/designer/artist who has been staring blankly at open doors. Open doors which have been presented to them because of something they themselves have done. They networked with other artists, entered a competition, enrolled in a class, etc. That door is open and you need to make the next step through it. Usually, the biggest obstacle between you and stepping through the door is… you! We need to get out of our own way!
So, keep dreaming and step through that door!