This is the 5th in the series of 5, of how I found my calling, if indeed it’s been found. After a few summer jobs that defied economic laws, a college party that lasted four years, and that first job that I got because of a pair of boots, I had decided to face my fears and try myself at being an illustrator. My dream, vs reality. But wait, reality kept coming on…
NFTG: Sorry to make you wait so long but considering the way I go about writing these – meaning whenever inspiration strikes – sometimes I have to wait a bit before it comes together. Right now, for example, I’m in Sydney, on the 35th floor of a hotel, sprawled out on my bed, jet-lagged like no other, so pretty much it’s the perfect time to tell the story of my life. Oh and I almost forgot, I’m right next to a box of cookies with a cup of Earl Grey in hand, and it’s pouring rain outside. I love it. Ooook, here we go. Last episode!
So after saying a brisk goodbye to the asshole agent who told me I didn’t have the right look for the job, I was headed right to my friends to get sloshed and bitch about the utter cruelty and terribly savagery of this world in which we live.
And then right when I got back home, I went back to work.
And then weeks passed, and what needed to happen, happened. My work got better. I started to get more and more jobs. I was becoming a flesh and blood…. illustrator. In the beginning, nothing could bring me more intense joy than simply pronouncing that word when someone asked me what I did for a living. Illustrator.
Listen to this… This is what it used to look like:
An artistic director would call me with a job and in my most suave voice possible, I’d tell him I’d have to check my calendar to see if there’d be any chance I’d have time, and then, oh my god, miracle, I’d have some open time (WHAT A SURPRISE, MY CALENDAR WAS EMPTY!!!) and then I’d hang up, find Sanouk, my cat, and grab him and spin him around in the air telling him that I’d promise him a future filled with so many Purina treats (the expensive ones), and I’d do a victory dance in front of my boyfriend (a touch of Dancing Queen mixed with what was left from my African Dance classes), and then I’d conference call all my friends telling them it was time to max out the credit card at Margiela, and then I’d call my mother saying, “You see? You SEE?! I told you I’d get there. Aren’t you proud of me? AREN’T YOU PROUD OF ME!?”
All that for a quarter page in a magazine that payed around…
You might want to hold onto something here… You ready for this?
$250 maximum. And that’s for a good magazine. Ah yes, Mr. credit card, get warmed up. Margiela, look out, Gaga’s coming!
Wait, I haven’t finished. It’s that when you are new to illustrating, you have no self-confidence. And so then the artistic director has no confidence in you either. And so he’ll make you change your drawing telling you to make it happier, or sexier, or add more colors.
And since you’re just starting out, and you want nothing more than the artistic director to love you forever, you say yes…. to EVERYTHING. And you start making changes to your drawings. And then they add up. And then you’ve changed it 25,000 times.
By the end of it, you’ve spent an entire week on one drawing.
And the drawing looks nothing like you imagined. It’s ugly! And then you just want to cry.
Oh, yeah, I forgot. You got $250. You need me to repeat that?
And then the magazine comes out. The first time, you practically spring to the magazine stand to see your first picture printed on glossy paper. You show it to the sales guy, your friends, you see your name in print, you dance down the street (a touch of Dancing Queen mixed with what was left from my African Dance classes), you crack open a bottle of champagne, send a copy to your parents, and everyone is amazed, except your mother who still has her suspicions, but that’s yet another subject.
After three times or so, no one cares anymore.
And there you are back at your desk, working for hours on end, wondering exactly what got you to pick such a bang-your-face-against-a-wall of a job.
Illustrator, a job only a madman would want.
And that’s how, just as I finally started achieving my dream, I saw it vanish before my eyes, just like that. So that’s what it’s like to be an illustrator? Well shit.
Life tends to play games with us. No seriously.
To get this picture straight, I’m going through a pretty severe disappointment. I’ve almost lost the desire to keep drawing.
But what happened is that right as I was feeling as a total loser, I found the internet. I had learned how to put together my site all by myself to show off some of my drawings, and then a whole bunch of friends asked me to help them design their sites… And I loved doing it, so I started researching designs, ideas. I gladly jumped right into the internet and in the middle of it all, I discovered the blogosphere.
One day, entirely too frustrated by the life of an illustrator, I decided to look for a new job. I had no idea what yet.
But I wanted to keep drawing on the side, something that I could do for pleasure, with no pressure attached. A passion like.
And for a passion to live on, you need to share it.
And to share it, I thought that the perfect way to do it would be….
Start a blog.
And that’s the end of this little mini series of my first times because what comes next, well. You already know.
If you have any questions on the details or little stuff I mentioned but didn’t go into detail about, as I know you’ll have lots because I get a lot of mails that I unfortunately never have the time to respond to (even less than I do the comments…) still ask them in the comments section and I’ll try to put together a post/epilogue to answer them all.
I should say, at the same time, I’m not much of a model for anything, oh no siree. I guess it does show that it’s okay to have a rather bizarre trajectory. What’s important is to find some movement. But maybe that depends. Because sometimes it’s good to stop as well. Well… Yeah…
I guess there are no rules, no perfect model. And for sure never, never, never a perfectly blazed trail.
Translation : Tim Sullivan