My Artistic Journey

Every artist has their own artistic journey, which I think is always really interesting, so I thought I'd share mine with you!

So to start with, the earliest thing I remember with drawing was in year 3, when I would have been 8 years old, and that was when I started drawing lots. And the thing that I was always drawing was HORSES!

This kind of became my "thing" for the next five years, or at least for the rest of primary school. And this is when I started drawing constantly at school, and then even when I’d return home. In all honesty, for the end of primary school and the start of high school, I was pretty lame (in an awesome way) - always writing stories, making up characters, and drawing them. And my school diary (up until about year 9 and 10) was just covered in lame scribbles, which I would always do during class, and so I probably didn't listen that much!

Early high school was the time when I was really drawing constantly, and probably the most frequent I've ever drawn in my entire life. I didn't really think about what I was drawing, I would just have something pop up in my imagination and then I'd just immediately put it to paper, without even really thinking about it. From year 6 to year 8, I would come home on a Friday night and just draw on my computer for hours.

But as I got into about year 9 or 10, I started getting really self-conscious as to what other people might think about me, and so I started drawing less and less, because I felt like I was being pretty lame. And I guess it's pretty typical of that age (14 or 15) that people start trying to change themselves to impress other people. So I really started to focus more on my social life and less on drawing. I'd instead spend most of my free time on the internet (MSN and Myspace!), or playing games (The Sims and Guildwars!!).

Then I really started getting slack with my drawing in year 11 and 12, which became very apparent when it came to starting my year 12 art major. It took me so long to figure out what to make my art major about, because I kept trying and trying ideas out and nothing was “good enough”, because my drawing skills were so rusty. I ended up just doing three photo-realistic digital paintings, recreating photos that I really liked, because I couldn’t create a painting up to the standards I’d set for myself without a solid reference to copy from. I actually ended up doing really well. I still really like the paintings that I did, and I'm proud of them.

The fact that all I ever really drew was horses and creatures (dragons!) was one of the reasons I felt really lame, and so towards the end of high school I started to learn to draw people, and creating more realistic art.

There was one character I created in year 10 or 11, who was called Cel, or Celepsi. And she kind of became my alter-ego, in a way. Drawing her became like an outlet for myself, through this character.

After high school I was awarded a half scholarship for a Game Design degree at Raffles College of Design, which I was really excited to start. But I found that there was very little competition in my course, because there were hardly any students and none of them really drew like I used to, and so this actually made me pretty lazy. And it didn't help that at this time I got really depressed - which just made me even less likely to be productive because all I wanted to do was lie in bed all day, or sit on the computer and play games.

But, to finish that course, I did a major project, where I had to create my own video game concept and create concept art for it. The game that I created was actually a story centred around my character Cel. So I eventually had to do a lot of finished art for that, which I was again very rusty for. But I just managed!

After my game design course, I went on to do another TAFE course, because I felt like I didn't really learn that much in my game design degree to actually get a job. The TAFE course that I did taught real skills of illustration - including anatomy, colour and light, storytelling, and perspective - so this course really got me back into drawing regularly. It was an amazing course, and I learnt so much…

But I actually never finished the course! I got to the point where I was so sick of studying (because I had been studying for 4 years straight, straight out of high school). So, I actually stopped going, and instead focused on my own art and portfolio. And that was when I started creating actual finished artworks for the first time in SO long (besides doing my major project). And that felt really good.

But it took me over a year to actually find a job, because there weren't really any illustration jobs in Sydney - there were lots of graphic design ones, but I obviously wasn't suited to those. So it was really disheartening, because I was applying for lots of jobs, and I didn’t seem to be getting even a nibble. And this had a very negative effect on my mental health, and I developed some pretty bad anxiety and was constantly depressed.

But, somehow… finally! I actually managed to get a job offer, for an illustration role, at a poker machine company! I couldn’t believe it - because although it wouldn’t have been my first choice in jobs, it was still related to my game design and illustration studies!

Getting this job had such an amazing effect on my confidence - I finally felt like I was worth something. And through that I found that drive that I had lost for so many years. 

But as time went on, I realised that the corporate job life really wasn't for me - it was making me really unhappy. So I started focusing on trying to figure out what would make me happy. So for about 9 months straight I focused on working towards getting to a career that would make me happy and fulfilled. I started researching, and drawing when I could (in my very limited time), and trying new things (filming, video, and social media!). And this made me really excited, I actually felt like I did when I was 11 or 12 years old - when I drew all the time, nothing was scary, learning was super fun, and I didn't overthink things.

It was through this research and dabbling that I realised that my wont for helping others just kept growing, and that this was what I needed to focus on in order to be happy, and fulfilled and satisfied with my work. So I did all the research I could to figure out how to do that.

And after all the research, I figured out what I needed to do - and the time came to bite the bullet and quit my job, and here we are!

I want to help and encourage others, and find that lust for life that I had as a kid - to have fun, not take anything too seriously, love life, and most of all - constantly learn and create.

So what's your artistic or personal journey been like so far? Are you working towards getting to where you want to be, or do you feel stuck?

If you want to hear more about my artistic journey, watch the video below!

And please connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, because I'd love to hear about your artistic or personal journeys!