In life, we are usually taught to play it safe. Don't make mistakes. Take the well-beaten path. See, lots of people took that road and succeeded, therefore you should too. But here comes the question: what if we don't want to?
When I decided to study Geography and later on, Illustration, most people's response was both surprised and concerned. I was top of the class all the way till high school, why would I choose such an unpopular subject rather than the ones with the most promising future - such as Law, Medical, or Accounting? (These 3 subjects are the favorites in my culture.)
"Because I love to draw" is not a satisfactory answer to many. Just because you love something, it doesn't mean you will make a decent living from it... or does it? Back then in art school, I was terrified that I won't find a job after I graduate. But I got my first job, then the second job, then another... and now I have a steady and sufficient income being a freelance illustrator. I'm so glad that I took the road less traveled.
Why take the road less traveled?
Live a life that's true to yourself, not the life others expect of you
Life is short, don't waste most of it doing what you dread. If you don't have any particular passion, feel free to go after any profession. But if you do have a burning passion, follow it, cultivate it, and make it your lifetime career. Live a meaningful and happy life doing what you love, rather than regretting spending so many years working just for money.
A more interesting and unique journey
Taking the road less traveled may be more challenging, but equally more rewarding. You'll encounter all kinds of weird stuff, meet lots of interesting people, and get to work on exciting projects. It might even take you to places you have never imagined! I'd say my life would be much more ordinary if I didn't take the leap to become an illustrator.
It might be easier to succeed
We often fear something because we are not familiar with it. People who's not familiar with illustration wouldn't know illustrators are needed in many areas: film, animation, games, books, packaging, toys, and the pretty mug on their table... If most people choose careers other than art, then you might actually have an easier time succeeding because there's less competition. (My primary school classmate, now a lawyer, once told me there are too many law graduates nowadays and it's hard to find a good-paying job.)
So pack your bag, gear up and create your path in the forest.
(The child in the artwork is my younger self with a boyish bob haircut.)
Hello! I'm Bonnie Pang and I'm an award-winning illustrator and comic artist.