When can I call myself an illustrator?
I know I don’t need to wait until I’ve done the (un)necessary training, have a certificate, or passed a test. So, must I have a pre-specified number of followers on Instagram? Or an extensive online portfolio (which I’m sure is very helpful indeed, but I’m new here).
So, what if I don’t?
When two completely disconnected people* raised this question, it got me thinking. I well and truly dread being asked what I do for a job, as mine isn’t a straightforward answer. I feel I have to justify my own situation with an abridged version of my awkward journey through life and work so far. Concluding with “but I want to be an illustrator”. This alone isn’t self-explanatory. And I feel I have to justify what I’m doing to get there (although I’m continually fighting self-doubt that I could ever be so lucky as to live the life I always dreamed of).
So, having given this some thought, I’m choosing to call myself an illustrator right now, despite not having much stuff “out there” to prove it.
[Audible intake of breath]
Well, where has being a hopeful illustrator gotten me so far?
If you’re also fed-up of self-doubt and the niggling, irritating voices that accompany this, try calling yourself an artist, illustrator, or whatever you hope to be, and listen to the new thoughts that start popping into your head.
*Hat’s off to Jessica Abel and my Canadian friend J for raising this.
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