Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A long time ago

© copyright Alicia Padrón
colored pencil

People ask me how I got to be a children's Illustrator and the answer is never a short one. Truth is sometimes, specially in crazy deadline days, I get a glimpse of me as if I were a third person, and I always ask myself, how did I get here? I'm still amazed by that and so grateful.

I always knew I wanted to do something creative. I knew I could never be a lawyer or an accountant. Nothing against lawyers or accountants, they are much needed in this society, just not my thing.

I really need to create something in order to feel alive.

I studied graphic design and that helped me realize I wanted to focus on illustration rather than design. I started illustrating more on my own and that made me realize I didn't feel pleasure rendering realistic objects or scenes. What was the point of copying something you could very well accomplish with a photograph? It made no sense to me. I wanted to create more.

Until one day I was sitting down on my living room with a huge belly, pregnant with my first baby, and it hit me. I wanted to be a children's illustrator. That was it. I finally got to where I needed to be. A moment where I could clearly see a finishing line. I just needed to start running towards it.

From that moment on, that thought never left my mind. I knew that is what I wanted to do with my life. Of course once the baby was born, all my focus went to him and then came the second baby and it took me a while to get where I am today. I worked on a sort of a portfolio during all that time which helped me experiment with mediums and styles. More importantly the thought of being a children's illustrator never left my mind, if only the desire grew stronger with each passing day.

Until one day, I realized my kids had grown to a good age where I could finally go for it. I did and here I am today.

The thing is, life hints you. Life is like a maze full of corridors with different possibilities. We are in it, blindfolded and wondering around. Destiny watches us, it can give us clues along the way but can't really tell us which path to take. We have to figure it out on our own.

Once we do, the hardest part will be over.
We just have to follow that path to happiness. :o)

© copyright Alicia Padrón


Holly Sterling said...

What a lovely inspiring post Alicia!

"We just have to follow the path to happiness"

Thank you for this :) x

Angela Muss said...

Sincere and full of positivism! Lots of love, Angela x

roz said...

"Destiny watches us." Love that. Great post Ali and I'm so happy that you listened to your inner voice and followed it!! Your work is such a delight.xo

Alicia Stucky said...

This sounds a lot like where I am right now. I studied animation in college, which only made me realize (though I did really love animation as well) that illustration was really where I wanted to be. Then came baby number one and little one number two, and now that she's closing in on eight months old, I'm really strapping down, trying to build a solid portfolio. Love this post. So glas you shared :-)

Phyllis Harris said...

Great post, Ali! We had a very, very similar journey to creating kid's art! Thank you for sharing. :)

Suzanne Del Rizzo said...

Great post Alicia!! Thanks for sharing your steps to becoming a Children's illustrator with us! I whole heartedly agree, that life does "hint" you. Having kids totally changed my perspective and redirected me along a very similar path. And now that my kiddos are getting a bit older I am excited to run and skip along that "happy path". Thanks for sharing!! :)

Kathy Weller said...

Wow. This is such a philosophical post and so beautifully written. Thank you Ali. You are a shining star, and such a wise soul!

Alicia Padrón said...

Thanks guys! I'm pretty sure we've all had our similar experiences. Aren't we lucky to be doing what we love?.. and still get paid for it? :o)

Nina Crittenden said...

So sweet, Alicia! You have definitely chosen the right path! Thanks for inspiring us all! :)

Alicia Padrón said...

Thanks Nina! Thank you for your sweet words xo

Lisa Richards said...

I loved this! I'm just a dreamer at this point, but my kids are all grown. I'm going to nursing school for the next two years, but hope to have more creative time after that. If you can't go to college to learn more about illustration is there a good book or books you ladies would recommend?

Very inspirational, Alicia!

Clara Lieu said...

Hi Alicia,
Great post on your journey into illustration. I actually had the opposite experience; I got my BFA in Illustration from RISD and now after having a career in the fine arts for many years,(the whole while thinking that I wasn't an illustrator) I'm just now finding a reason to come back to illustration. So interesting to see the various paths we take to get there!


Alicia Padrón said...

Hi Lisa- A dreamer is good! That's how it all gets started. :o)

I recommend that you try and immerse yourself in everything related to illustration as possible. These two books are a must:

But don't stop there, take advantage of the web too. Visit illustrator's blogs. A lot of them do process posts and you can learn a lot form that.

If it's kids books that you are aiming for, read a lot of kids books. Study what is you like about you favorite ones. is it the story? Is it the style of illustrations? Maybe the simplicity of the book? That can hint you as to where you might like to move towards to in the future and you can learn ow a children's book is structured.

I know you said you can't go to college and I have a feeling it has to do with time since you are going to be busy with nursing. But there are community courses that are very inexpensive, and you can just enroll in one every saturday or something like that. This way maybe you will be able to do it even tho you work. Take advantage of that and enroll in all the life drawing classes you can. The more you learn to draw the better. Then take single technique courses like oils, pastels, watercolor to experiment with them and see what you like best.

Don't give up on this is this is your dream. Learn all you can and then take the plunge!


Alicia Padrón said...

Hi Clara, well life does that. Makes some unexpected turns at times but fine arts and illustration are linked and I can understand how you might want to jump from one to the other. I wish you the best of luck! :o)

Lisa Richards said...

Thanks for the advice, Alicia! I'll check out those links you gave me. I'm also finding lots of great tutorials on YouTube. At my age (54) I probably won't make a career of illustration, but I would like to do it for my own enjoyment. Thanks again! :)

Alicia Padrón said...

You're very welcome! But it's never too late Lisa.

Age really doesn't matter in this field nor does location. That's one of the things I love the most about it. I can work anywhere in the planet as long as there is internet connection and I can work until my very last days.. when my hands are wrinkled but happy. :o)