Sometimes, an artist just must change styles or subject matters. It happens to all of us at some point, I think. An artist changes styles because they improve their technical skills, do life studies, or find a new medium that they like, among other reasons.
People who have been following my art for a while may know that at the beginning of 2018, I started shifting my artistic focus away from comics and cartoons and over to animal art. For almost a year I tried to do both cartoons and animal art, but as time went on I slowly started doing more and more animal art. Now I almost exclusively draw animal art!
I wanted to take this post to talk about how that shift came about because I don’t think I’ve addressed that in detail. I still love comics and cartoons, and storytelling, but I’ve found animal art to be very fulfilling over the past couple of years, especially my Horses of the World series.
I spent my creative time from 2010 until 2017 working primarily on a comic called Adrastus. Though I still love the story and still want to rework it as a novel, I found that creating it like a comic was just not working out for me. I had trouble gaining any traction with the comic, and working on it became harder and harder, especially when I was working two barn jobs to make ends meet and also trying to update a comic three times a week. It became impossible to continue the comic while also working, and I couldn’t create enough money through the comic to drop one of my jobs.
I got to the point where I actually met with a business advisor in January of 2018 because I was so desperate to get an outside, unbiased look at what I was trying to do. By this time I had done around 6 of my Horses of the World pieces, so I brought these and my comic art to the meeting. After having a chat with the advisor, I had a plan to get my name out in my local area by promoting my horse art.
Over time I began to realize that drawing horses and other animals is extremely rewarding for me. I wrote recently about My Mission as an Artist and how I hope that my art will encourage learning and conservation. It is so much easier to talk to people and connect over my animal art than it is to try and explain my cartooning and comics. I love to see people’s faces light up when they see my art at the co-op store that I’m a part of, out at a fair, or when I’ve been commissioned to do a portrait of their special pet. I find telling people about all the different breeds of horses I’ve drawn to be extremely rewarding, especially when I can tell them something cool about a breed they’ve never heard of, or something new about their favorite breed. Though I made many connections over the years of working on my comic story, and I cherish the friends that I made during that time to this day, there is just something more rewarding to me about the path that my career has gone down in the past two years. Perhaps it’s because of my life-long love of horses and now having them in my life because of finding Glory, but regardless I am so happy with the way that my artist career has shaped up lately and I hope to do more amazing things and keep growing into 2020.
To close out, a huge thanks to those who are still with me despite my subject matter/style change! I was worried when I started shifting focus that everyone I knew from comics would disappear out of my life, but I am very glad that hasn’t happened.
If you’re an artist, have you ever drastically changed styles or subject matters? How did that go for you? Leave a comment!