I have some thoughts I would like to share with you young artist, and it may be good advice for young writers as well. I spend several hours a day networking. During this time I check out other artist blogs to see what is going on with them. I ran across one that I really thought was a negative, bad advice one. I will not mention the artist, but will talk about a few things he said. He was trying to give advice to other artist on being a professional. In his advice he said things like "Art Directors are idiots", "that you could never make a living being an artist",and so on. My first thoughts where that this guy didn't have a clue. So I checked out his work. It was obvious he was self taught with no formal training. His work overall really was bad. About 1 out of 10 pieces was descent, but the rest he should never show in his portfolio, and none of his work had ever been published mainstream.
So what I want to say is this, unless your getting advice from the likes of Todd Lockwood (who has a section on his website about how to conduct yourself and building a portfolio, and excellent advice to all artist) Don't listen to some want to be whose ego far outweighs his talent.
The only advice I will offer is a couple of things that have been told to me by Lockwood, Daniel Horne, Don Maitz, Ken Kelly and most all the major names in the illustration business, is this, work hard, very hard. Learn all you can, read books, go to school, go to artist retreats. And no matter how good you think you are, go to a con, take your portfolio, show it to a pro and tell them to be brutal. That is the only way you will really know where you stand.
Not all of us can afford to go to the big name art schools. I couldn't and for a lot of years I was self taught, then I got lucky. Daniel and Todd took an interest in me, and taught me the things I needed to know. I am still working on the things they taught me, and slowly I get better and better. I have been lucky enough to have had a few pieces printed in Mainstream, mainly in Dragon Magazine and Hero's games, but the assignments keep getting better and better and I know it's just a matter of a couple of years before I can get work from Tor and Baen, plus a lot of gaming companies.
You can make a living doing what you love, but it takes a lot of work, and no short cuts. Well, Cheryl said we needed to run to the store. So, I'll check in soon. Peace and Blessings all.