I was born an artist. It has to be developed and nurtured and practiced over time to become what it can truly be, but artistic talent is something you are born with, and there is a genetic aspect to it. Great Aunt Viola could draw and paint. She produced impressive art during her lifetime. My father can draw. He has demonstrated ability a number of times, though he never developed it. Both my brother and I can draw and have done a lot of it. All three of my children can draw and paint. My daughter, the Princess, even wants to pursue a career in graphic design and animation.
One of the factors that weighs heavily on a career in art is the starving artist factor. To be a serious artist, you have to study art in great detail. You need lots of practice, developing not only pencil-pushing prowess, but having an artist’s eyeball, that way of seeing that twists and turns the artist’s subject to find the most novel and interesting angle. It takes a great deal of time. And if you are doing this alone, you are responsible also for building your own following and marketing your own work and creating your own brand. You need to be three people in one and do this while potentially not being able to make any money at all for it. I have taught myself to do the art part, but I paid the bills with something else I loved to do, teaching English to hormone-crazed middle-schoolers.
An important part of art is what you have to sacrifice to do it.
Many artists become alcoholics, drug users, or suicidal manic-depressives. There is an artistic sort of PTSD. Doing real art costs a lot because it alters your lifestyle, your mental geography, and your spiritual equilibrium. Depending on how much of yourself you put into it, it can use you up, leaving no “you” left within you.
I am not trying to leave you with the impression that I mean to scare you into not wanting to be an artist. For many reasons it is a great thing to be. But it is a lot like whether you are born gay or straight… or somewhere in between. The choice is not entirely up to you. You can only control what you do with the awful gift of art once it is given to you. And that is a serious choice to make. Me, I have to draw. I have to tell stories. My life and well-being depend on it. It is the only way I can be me.