Learning to become an artist looks different for each individual. Every Evolve artist path is unique and can offer up guidance and encouragement for fellow students.
One artist who has a very inspiring path, is that of Michael, one of the very first Evolve artist students. Throughout his education and work with Evolve, Michael has been an inspiration for how to get work done and get it done well.
With a full-time job, a family, and many responsibilities, he has figured out a way to dedicate time to his art in order to grow as an artist. Currently, Michael is working in Block 8, creating beautiful paintings using all of the techniques he has developed throughout the program.
In this interview, we hope you’ll find some inspiration to take your wish to create quality art and turn it into reality.
Can you explain your art journey?
I had done art in school, taking every art class I could in in high school, nothing really to write home about but [also] audited a couple drawing classes in college, and took some community college drawing courses...There were a few years where I took some time off to learn the technical side of my job. And then recently in the past three years...I had got into an online program that was a pretty strong drawing program.
[Art] has always been something I come back to. But the thing about that was that I would pick it up, and I only had so much talent, so I was never really super serious about it. And I wanted to go to college for art, but just couldn't get somebody to push me. I didn't know what to do myself.
I didn't want to go to a four year university where I had to do a bunch of other courses...And I wanted to do nothing but art. I didn't see why I had to study other subjects.
So I kind of fell by the wayside. But it's pretty much always been a part of my life, you know, teenage years with comic books and trying to emulate what was in the comic books. That was always been a main influence in my art, and I guess I always come back around to that.
How did you find Evolve Artist?
It was just a creative urge, really. Some of it is probably because of [nostalgia], but a lot of it was just needing to do this and for whatever reason I just feel the urge to pick up a pencil and start drawing. So early 2016, I picked one up and I drew a portrait of my daughter...and I haven't put down a pencil or paintbrush since then.
So I started drawing portraits from photographs and then I searched through online programs...and then Evolve Artist fell into my lap and I thought, “I gotta take this chance or else I'm going to be stuck where I am”, and I felt like it was my last chance to really become an artist.
[When I saw Evolve, I was already in a program that taught me the importance of making time to practice every day], but it took me like a month to get feedback to get to finalize one portion of that program.
[With Evolve}, I was on the fence for a while, but I thought, I'll give it a shot. Partly maybe because I wanted to test Kevin and see if he was for real, almost a dare to see if I could prove him wrong.
But when I did go into [Evolve] I made the commitment to myself that if this was real, I'm going to commit to it, and not worry about any other any other outside projects...And it's been grand ever since. It's been a great journey. So at the end, I shudder to think of what [would have happened] if I didn't try it.
How do you manage a busy life and your art?
[I was already] getting up really early to get like an hour or two in of drawing time, and somebody told me once, you make it a habit, just like flossing. Nobody wants to really take the time to do it, but it doesn't take that much time and once you make it a habit, it's a habit for life.
So if you only have 15 minutes to draw, do that and then that 15 minutes becomes...30 minutes, and [then] I can cut this out and I don't have to run down to the coffee shop this morning I can make my own coffee, and save that 20 minutes and draw.
I can take a sketchbook with me in the car while the wife is shopping and I could Doodle, you know, in the car or on a bench in the mall.
But just finding time and I think people will be amazed how they can cut out some of the static to be able to find the time to really commit.
Where do you hope to go with your art?
Well short term, I just want to finish the painting I'm working on. That's what I'm trying to get through, to finish this painting and then finish the next one.
But long term, I’d like to do a comic book cover...I usually play things like that pretty close to the vest and not talk about them a lot, but that would be an ultimate [achievement] for me. But, I'm keeping my mind open, so I'm not going to say, you know, it has to be this one thing.
Tips for artists
This brings to mind a quote by Steven Pressfield:
“The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist” (The War of Art).
My tip would be to just be the one working. You try to stay focused, you stay present, and not let your mind wander.
Not consumed by fear of the past or hope for the future, just try and stay in the now. Keep your head down and work. I think that that has been...the running theme...work!
Thanks to Michael for sharing his journey with and I encourage all of you to take his advice and be the one working!
If you would like to watch Michael’s full interview with Mitch on the Pencil Kings podcast, you can view it here!
Read more Evolve Artist interviews here!