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Joe Madueira-Do you really want to be an artist?

Joe Madureira is a prominent comic artist, character designer and video game developer. Joe rose to prominence drawing the X-Men for Marvel comics and launching his creator owned title Battle Chasers. Joe then left comics to work in video game development and since then has ventured back into comics from time to time and will be penciling upcoming issues of Wolverine for Marvel comics.

Joe recently made a post on his Facebook fan page addressing the myriad of questions he receives from “aspiring artists” about how to make it or be great. Here he delivers his advice and wisdom to those who strive to be professional artists. This advice is well met for an artist seeking to become a professional in any field of illustration. Learn from his experiences and apply them to your own in the way that makes the most sense.

Be forewarned Joe is speaking frankly and is using more frank and “adult” language in his post.

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Do you really want to be an artist? Or a successful working professional?

Believe it or not there is a difference. I’m not usually a soapbox type guy, I don’t like instructing people, and I think I’m a terrible teacher. But hey, it’s Friday and I’m in a strange mood. So here goes:

I’ve noticed that a good number of my fans happen to be aspiring artists themselves. This is for all you guys. I get asked constantly: “Where should I go to school?” “What classes should I take?” “What should I study for anatomy?” “What pencils and paper do you use?” “Should I be working digitally now instead of traditionally?” “How do I fix my poses? Learn composition? Perspective?” “When am I going to develop my own style?” “Who were your influences?” “Teach me how to draw hands!” The list goes on…

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Here’s the deal. All of that stuff *is* important, and it may nudge you in the right direction. A lot of it you will discover for yourself. What works best for one person doesn’t work for another. That’s the beauty of art. It’s personal. It’s discovery. DON’T WORRY ABOUT ALL THAT CRAP!

Instead I’m going to answer the questions that you *SHOULD* be asking, but aren’t. These are things that have only recently occurred to me, after doing this for 20+ years. These things seem so obvious, but apparently they elude a lot of people, because I am surprised at how many ridiculously talented artists are ‘failing’ professionally. Or just unhappy. The beauty of what I’m about to tell you is that it doesn’t matter what field you’re in or what your art style is.
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