Am I In Over My Head?

August 25, 2017

Am I in over my head?




Of course I am.


Perhaps I took my own advice on “Making My Life Harder on Purpose” a little too well.


I’ve committed to becoming a professional illustrator.


To those who know me well, this might feel more “out of the blue” than it is.


Backing up a bit


I’ve always loved art and thought about going to art school after high school…but didn’t.


After graduating with my teaching certification I taught 5th grade, and let’s just be kind and say I had a bit of a rough year. I loved parts of it, but ultimately realized that classroom teaching wasn’t for me.


While surviving 5th grade, I started to draw more frequently and focused more on improving while I thought seriously about the foolishness of changing careers right after spending years getting a teaching degree.


Then came nine months of working overseas and traveling as a “break”, “while I could” before I “got too settled” into a teaching job.


Which were all true reasons for why I went overseas.


I just didn’t feel very compelled to share some of the other reasons I went: including my complicated feelings about teaching and the idea that I might not return to it.


Present day


Since I’ve returned to the States I’ve thought a lot about my future, and discussed various options with friends (and my mom) that were mainly variations on teaching art.


I’ve realized though that although I love teaching and sharing with others, and teaching art feels like a compromise. A much more reliable job that would combine what I want with what I have done.


While I learn about art and illustration, I will still teach in some way- but not as a classroom teacher in a school again. Teaching is important to me, but not in a classroom, and not as my only focus.


I want to focus on other things like:

  • Creating and sharing stories
  • Challenging myself to reinterpret other’s ideas into images
  • Spending as much time creating as possible
  • Inspiring and encouraging others through my work
  • Collecting and creating resources for others to grow


I want to be an illustrator.  


It won’t be easy.


There are many battles ahead:


  • Improving my skills as an artist
  • Networking (???)
  • Self-doubt and insecurity
  • Guilt about leaving teaching
  • Earning money from a part-time job (but not letting it take over)
  • Staying focused
  • And many, many more…


But I’m committed.


I panic-applied to 20 jobs a couple weekends ago, accepted a full-time teaching position a few days later, and then quit before I even worked a day.


I realized that I was accepting the job because it was safer. More predictable. More expected.


Less scary.


I can’t say that I’m 100% confident now and will never get scared or doubt myself again. I just am promising that I will never give in and take the more secure, predictable road out of fear.


If I don’t give this my all now, then I’ll never know if I could’ve succeeded or not.*


So now, here I am, leaping into the deep end.


  • Finding and organizing tons of online resources and books,
  • searching for a mentor,
  • doing daily drawing practice,
  • and sharing as much of my learning as possible so you can benefit from it too.


I’m in far over my head, but I’m trying to enjoy it.


Wish me luck!


* ”If I don’t try, I’ll never know.” Is my current motto I use to reassure myself daily.




Please comment below if you have questions, want to connect and learn together, or have sage advice about becoming an illustrator to share!


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