My path in drawing began as soon as I was able to hold pencils in my hand :)
As a child, my favorite activity was drawing. I graduated from a local art school (I studied for 5 years), where we painted one still life for six months. It was a small art school in the village, where I learned practically nothing. But this experience gave me an understanding that drawing is my favorite activity in life. Then for about 10 years I didn't draw at all, then it seemed to me that time was lost and probably not in this life anymore... Since 2016, I started trying to draw - everything came out clumsily, my hand did not obey, there were no ideas. These attempts were about 1-2 hours per month. I didn't know what to draw at all? how? for what? Why waste time on this?
I wanted to connect my life with drawing and earn money from it, but I realized that I was doing very poorly (and it was true that they were kalyaki-malaki). They were mostly redrawn illustrations.
And then I realized that I could draw just for myself, because I really love it. And I allowed myself to do it.
In 2019, I started painting stylized female portraits in watercolor, and then more realistic ones. I drew photos from the Internet, and then I began to draw friends and girls from work, and gave them a drawing. I don't know why, but they were delighted, just like me :)
I painted such portraits for a whole year on my days off, of course, not every weekend, about 2 hours a week. And then I accidentally found out about the drains (it was January 2020). The very idea that you can draw not to order, but what you like and sell the drawing has overwhelmed me many times. Then I heard a lot about how this is passive income and everything is so simple and easy (although in fact it is not so at all).
I found out about the Etsy site and opened my store there. I began to draw children's and floral watercolor cliparts. At that time, I couldn't afford good materials, so the quality of the illustrations was terrible - inexpensive paper and paints scanned on an office printer at work. But I did what I could at that moment. Every day off, from morning to night, I drew, processed the scanned and made previews for these sets. Unfortunately, there were no sales at all...
In the middle of 2020, I bought a screenless tablet on which I drew in Photoshop via a laptop. The laptop was old, with poor color reproduction and constantly hung up. But I continued to draw cliparts... If you think that you will have the support of loved ones at this stage, then most likely it will not be at all. I didn't have. You must become your own support, and clearly know why you are doing this.
I was delighted with digital drawing. It was still very clumsy, but I was already starting to like it. Sales were very rare, 5-10 pcs in about six months. I was very tired, every 2 weeks I wanted to give it all up and not draw anymore. I saw the successes of others and thought, "Here they have talent, but I don't have it. It was really a very difficult period in my life, but some voice inside was yelling at me constantly: "You have to, you have to, you will succeed!!". And I kept doing it, even when it didn't work out. I also had almost no collection ideas of my own, I looked at other illustrators a lot. At the same time, I worked at my main job and could only devote my weekends to drawing.
I would like to note that by the beginning of 2021 (I was almost 34 years old at that time), I clearly realized and accepted the fact that no one would give me a chance to change my life except myself. We often want to shift this responsibility to others - parents, husband/wife, children, the state, the boss, etc., and we get discouraged that: if I had been given a different education.... if I had been loved more as a child... if I had been born in another country... if I didn't have children... if they paid more at work... (substitute your own) then, of course, I would have achieved everything in life. And so - I won't even try, it won't work anyway.
Your life is only your responsibility. And only you can change it. It's long and difficult, but it's worth it.
In the middle of 2021, I found a way to buy an iPad Pro tablet for drawing, which I had dreamed of for many years. I won't describe what it cost me back then, just know that I had to go through incredible difficulties to do it. And I started my journey from scratch again. I studied how to create vector illustrations in an Illustrator on a tablet, how to process them, how to make more beautiful presentations to my collections. At the same time, I began to learn a lot about drawing itself, and began to come up with my own collections based on my ideas. (these collections are still being bought)
I started to re-develop my store on Etsy and prepare again for the Creative Market exam in order to open a store there (at that time I had already been refused 3 times). At the end of October, I was refused 4 times, without the right to re-apply. I was upset, of course, but I decided to prepare better and apply from another email :) Resourcefulness is our everything :))
And a few days later, Creative Market made it possible to open a store without an exam. This store of mine is still open today.
I describe these events in such detail so that you can see exactly the path, and not just the end result (which everyone sees as a result in the social network. they think that success comes to successful people in a miraculous way).
In March 2022, the Etsy platform closed all Russian stores, including mine, which only began to bring me substantial income. And I started all over again...
The main reason why I did vector illustrations was because SVG files sold well on Etsy (I heard this from other illustrators), so when my store closed, I decided to start drawing in the Procreate program, as I once wanted to.
At the same time, I wanted to buy brushes for Procreate from a foreign illustrator, but could not because of the sanctions imposed on my country. And I decided to try to make brushes myself, it was very interesting to me and I literally caught fire with this idea. I studied the issue and painstakingly made my first set of brushes "Time of Magic" for Procreate. It was a very long and time-consuming process, but I was thrilled!
I also note that I went through a lot of different training on the subject of drawing, I can't say that any books or courses directly taught me how to draw, but I tried to take at least a crumb for myself. Many of the courses have taught me nothing except the realization that only constant practice will help me draw better. And so it is. Only your constant development (including as a person) and practice will lead you to a better result than it is now. Over time, it will be easier for you to come up with and implement your ideas on canvas. This does not mean that you do not need to study (I am still studying and will never stop doing it), just do not think that the course is a magic pill, after which you will immediately begin to draw like a professional.
According to the illustrations in this article, you can see that it was not talent, but perseverance and constant practice that helped me achieve such good results in drawing (and also a strong love of drawing, of course). Skill, experience and the desire to constantly develop in your business - only this will make you successful, not an imaginary talent.
Since then and to this day (today, December 28, 2023), I have been drawing in the Procreate program and creating my own brushes. I also record the processes of video drawing, which can be viewed on this site in the "blog" section.
My income now far exceeds any of my previous salary in hiring. I paint every day and I really love my job. I work every day seven days a week because I love what I do. But I also often do things that I don't want at the moment, but I need to do so that in the future my work will bring me income (this is part of the process of working for myself). I have a lot of ideas and projects right now. I try to create high-quality products that this world needs. There are still difficulties, and there are quite a lot of them, but I will cope, it is inevitable. And I am incredibly grateful to myself, who started this difficult path once and did not get off it.
Alena Polikarpova (polikarpovaart)