Some of my earliest memories are of drawing pictures, or the resulting art. Other kids maybe had favorite toys but I couldn’t think of anything better than a box of crayons (and later, colored pencils, paints, mechanical pencils, paints, pastels, markers…). I remember finding out that there were people who got paid to paint or draw things in art class when I was around five or six. That was it, I knew what I wanted to do in life.
I took every single art class that I could, in school and around the community. I got every book I could find about drawing, cartoons, comics, and art. When I had read everything I could think of (I should say, that our library and school had), I started looking online for more options. I practiced whenever I could. Any time someone gave me money for a holiday or birthday, it went toward more art supplies. I even saved up enough for a real drafting table. The more I drew, the more I settled on becoming a cartoonist. There is just so much that you can say and do through drawings that you can’t in real life. I would draw my friends in cartoons, doing various dumb things we’d actually done. They thought it was great.
However, my parents aren’t totally on board with me becoming a cartoonist. I am pretty sure that my mother used every variation of the word “no” that she could think of, in both English and French, every time I mention it. My parents said they would much rather I get a steady “real” job. That has always bothered me. I get that we can’t all be Albéric Bourgeois or James Simpkins, but I think I could be somewhere between those guys and nothing. I’d be OK with that, and I wish they could be as well. I find it odd that they would prefer that I be a middle manager at some useless company than working at a newspaper and drawing political cartoons or doing a syndicated strip. I don’t know, that life sounds pretty good to me!
I wanted my parents to know that I was taking it very seriously when I was applying to schools. I showed my parents all the different things I could do with a degree from an art school: graphic design, computer animation, teaching, or even being a straight up artist. I showed them some of the salaries, too. I think the fact that I was so mature about it worked in my favor, because they eventually conceded that I could attend. However, I did have to make some concessions with them, too. I had to take some of the computer design classes that I would have rather avoided, because according to my parents, they are practical and have more post-school job potential. Since that got them off my back, I have no problem taking a class now and again that involves computer work. I just keep telling myself any skills I learn at school are going to help me in the long run, and try not to think about it too much otherwise.
I’ve still got some school to go, but we’ll see which of us is right in a couple of years.