John Picacio, the award-winning, insanely talented science fiction artist, posted on his blog that this marks his 10-year anniversary as a full-time artist. Ten years ago, he took the plunge and left behind his day job and took up art full-time.
Starry-eyed? Romantic? A little, I dunno, crazy? Sure. But here’s how he did it, and if you aren’t impressed by this you have no idea what’s going on here.
But here’s a hard truth I can proudly say today that I couldn’t until now — at last count, over this last ten years, I’ve produced over 120 cover illustrations for major science fiction, fantasy and horror books. In other words, I’ve averaged one major published piece of cover art in sf/f/h for every single month of the last ten years.
What that number means to me is I came to work every single day, blue-collar all the way, and never quit for even a day. Nothing more, nothing less. And yeah, that may be the thing I’m most proud of.
That’s the creative life for you. Blue-collar, all the way. You can have the most incredible sensibility and talent for art, music, literature, you name it, but it takes a sheer bloody-minded work ethic to be a success.
If you ever read Salon’s advice column, Since You Ask, and I know I’ve referred to it before, you know that people often write in to Cary Tennis about wanting to be true to their art but they have a day job and their creativity is being stifled, and how can they create beautiful work when they have to pay the bills? (Often, pot is involved in these stories.)
Those people are not artists and never will be.
Go and read John’s blog, look at his beautiful illustrations and paintings, and then drop him a comment offering your congratulations. And if you’ve ever had the thought that you could be a great artist, if only… remember this lesson.
By the way, John is creating the 2012 calendar for the Song of Ice and Fire. And despite my feelings about the cycle, I’m still probably going to get the calendar, just because I’ve seen a sample and it is totally amazing.