Frustrated and some questios.
Sharing some frustration.Skip to the end for the questions.

I'm studying architecture and I'm in my 4th year.

I'm doing terrible at it and I can't stand it.There has been this question in my mind that has been going on for years that is should I pursue art or architecture and the obvious answer for me was that I pursue both 'till I get my architecture degree and then if my art skills would have improved enough I should try freelancing.
But I find myself procrastinating a lot about university and it keeps me from drawing because I feel guilty drawing when I should be studying, more so because of my father, who is paying for everything and it makes me that much more guilty.
The more time passes the more I realize I can't live without having a somewhat fulfilling job as an artist.
I feel as I should quit university but I'm in too far to turn back now.
I'm 22 and I need to find part time job as an artist but still I keep thinking I should ave some better pieces of work before I start to make a name for myself and contact potential clients.
I aim to be and Illustrator and Character designer.
What seems to make it worse is that I think since live in a poor country and could live with just 300$ a moth it should be easier for me to make a living out of my art.
So i spent my days not doing much fearing to do anything and feeling I'm not advancing much in any direction and the guilt is ever growing.

I know you may not be in any position to give advice but please share your thoughts.

I also feel like I don't have a clear understanding of my artistic skills, how good am I? What should I do?
Would you kindly take a look at my portfolio and tell me what you think?
Is there a piece or pieces I should definitely get rid of?
A lot of them are unfinished and I want to make another category with character concepts before i try to apply for a job.

I've read a lot about freelancing but still, given the quality of art I showcase what do you think are some good places to apply?

thanks for your time guys.

I think even if you get freelance jobs as an artist you will feel unfulfilled. You are focused on attaining a goal in hopes that it will make you happy. Happiness comes from within not from external things. You will get some freelance jobs from some small projects that you have very little interest in and then you'll just want to get jobs from better clients. Then when you get jobs from the better clients you'll want to create your own IP and not want to answer to an art director.

You're still very young and have a good portfolio. If you are too far along in your degree to back out then you should commit to it. You may never use your degree to land a job as an architect but many great artists started out studying other things. James Gurney got his degree in Anthropology before teaching himself art. Your background in architecture will only strengthen you as an artist. Having more understanding of the world around you informs your art. Be glad you didnt go to art school where they push horrible modern art on you and learn no real skills. You still have plenty of time to become an illustrator. Just dont stop creating art that you enjoy and find a balance in your life for now while you handle your obligations.

There's something called the sunk-costs fallacy, and I think it applies to you in this case. You've done architecture for 4 years, so I'm assuming your going for a masters at least ie theres a few more years ahead of you (if its your last year though you might as well finish it, but if theres more ahead I would recommend not staying). From this post you clearly don't like it, and you don't feel like you're getting better at it. So tell me this, why bother finishing it if you KNOW you're not enjoying it? The fallacy I mentioned earlier references to the idea that you have to finish something just because you've invested yourself in it already, but really you're just going to waste more time by pursuing it further. Time is precious, you can't get it back. Don't waste it because you've already invested in it in the past.

Also, because you're so divided between the two fields, to the point where they're *both* suffering, you're likely going to take a lot longer to get anywhere in either one. If your plan is to become an artist, why get the architecture degree at all? You're far enough in where there will be diminishing returns in the information you can get from architecture that will apply to art, so theres no point staying for that reason. I strongly recommend choosing one and committing to it, and based on what you've written it sounds like art is the right choice for you. "A man who chases two rabbits catches neither"

I know its going to sound weird coming from me, since I'm, actually a bit younger than you, but man you're 22... you have so much time ahead of you it's ridiculous. The notion that you should already be active or should be nearing professionalism in your early years is just not true anymore. Millennials and Gen Ys are leaving the house later and later, for many reasons, chiefly because of rising costs of living and higher competition in the market. Maybe it was true 40 years ago that you should be set for life by the time your in your early 20s but its not anymore. And even if it were, you would still have a lifetime ahead of you to try different things. I know of some really talented artists only got involved in art in their late 20s and early 30s. You have plenty of time, the issue is how are you going to make it work? Its possible to get professional in 2-3 years if you're dedicated enough, and if you're willing to try different things constantly and to take peoples advice to heart, at least for a while.

Well, what I would suggest personally for you, based only off this post, is quit school if you really don't like it that much, and devote the vast majority of your free time to art (at least 80% of your free time). There are probably some companies that might give you some work here and there, but to be honest I think you need to study more and learn the fundamentals. You have a good grasp on colour, your anatomy is good for the most part and overall I think you have a solid base to jump off from. There are plenty of people here willing to help you out if you ask around for feedback and take note of their advice, and there are plenty of other groups online that will help you as well.If your family needs your contributions somehow or another, then either get a part time job and help pay for things or take up a lot more work around the house and help them out, or do what I do and help with practically everything. The last thing you want to do is come across as a lazy mooch, so if they're reluctant to let you leave school, prove them wrong. Prove to them, today, that you can and will be useful to them despite not being in school, and while learning about art. Prove to them that you are more devoted to art than to school. Prove to them that you're not enjoying your school and don't think it will be fulfilling for you. But by all means, don't ever turn it into a fight. The moment it turns into a fight, the more resistant they will become to the idea at all and the less likely you'll be to do what you want.

Thanks for the comments guys.

I got only 2 semesters left of university so I think it would be stupid of me to quit, and its not the money I spend on formal education that is the problem but the fact that I live in another city so I can't live with my parents and living alone costs a lot more. I could just move back home but I got friends and a girlfriend that I really love and basically I like my life here too much to give it up, even for art.

I want a job as an artist not because I want to feel fulfilled as much as I want to make enough money so that I get some peace of mind and take this stupid guilt out of my head, but getting a job in this city with the skills I have is hard so I think freelancing would be the best thing for me.

I look at freelancing as the optimal way to work for my lifestyle.It gives a lot of freedom and although its a challenge and requires a lot of self discipline I still want to do it.

Thanks again guys.

Hope it works out for you man. If you want more help with your portfolio theres lot of places to submit for critiques online. This site obviously and permanoobs have some good helpful people on them. The podcast One Fantastic Week does a monthly Crit Cast you can submit your folio to. They've done a few in the passed month and a half that you should check out if you havnt. A lot of what they've advised to other people would apply to you as well. They have a facebook group that you can post your work to for crits.

I was in similar position as you. I was studying architecture but somewhere around third year I realized that it's not for me and I want to do art. More precisely concept art and illustration. At this time I also found forums which really boosted my motiviation to draw.

Then I worked daily at drawing and painting while being almost miserable at architecture faculty beacause I didn't put enough effort. This lack of focus got me a lot of trouble at the university and I started some crazy lifestyle of staing up all the time at nights till 4 A.M. so that I could put more time into drawing. Luckily the closer I got to graduating, the studying schedule was less intense so I had more time for art. Eventually I managed to finish architecture with pretty poor graduation project but at the same time I had some decent illustration portfolio.

Few weeks later I landed a job at small game developer that does casual games. Not exacly what I was going for but it was getting foot in the door.
Hey man, I was going to post on your crit thread, but think here might be better.
Patrick made some really good points about quitting instead of grinding, and Farvus also did about pushing through with the degree and coming out with both.

I think Adam nailed it in his first bit about happiness though. I was going to say something very similar.

The philosophical view
The other thing that nobody has really said is that nobody can tell you what is going to be the right path for you, and you shouldn't be relying on us to help direct you. You could read a thousand personal journeys of people in this exact situation and none of them will make any real difference because the choice of what to do with your time is totally and utterly up to you.

You are so concerned about your future (which is just a fantasy of your own making really) that the path you are walking in the present is becoming all muddy and torturous with your own thoughts, splitting into different ways and branches, not clear at all.
The moment you just focus and look at taking one step after the next with full awareness and disregard the future, that is when your path will become more clear.

You will probably find if you start to focus more on the present and your own gut that you will end up hacking through pathless bushland rather than a neat well worn path. That is fine, because you are making your own path and not just walking down some that others have made for you.

The next bit I have learned through my own "crises" decision points, one very similar to your current one. Us humans have this arrogant way about us where we are taught that our brains and our thoughts are actually the best way to deal with any problem that arises. And because the problem seems to be born in our brain, that the answer lies within it. Actually most times it is our own thoughts that are the ones creating the problem in the first place, holding us back and sabotaging us in huge ways. We never get taught how to deal with that aspect of ourselves.

I would in addition to Adam's thoughts say, that now is the time to start to try to learn to really listen to yourself. Be very aware of all your emotions, your fears, your guilt, everything to do with this situation, and then discount them all and try and listen to what your gut is telling you.

The more you quiet your brain and listen to yourself in a quieter deeper way (not your thoughts) the more you will get feelings of some sort of unexplained "knowing". Your subconscious knows things about you that even your thinking brain doesn't. Don't discount this! In my own life more recently, I can see that the more I have listened to myself in silence (NOT my fears or thoughts) the more clearer things become. Choices actually start to get easy, almost to the point where there is no real choice to be made, there is only action.

From what I have experienced, when I trust this feeling, and make the corresponding action, it throws up amazing results and opportunities in ways my brain never even imagined.

Do not stop yourself out of fear or guilt or whatever from doing what you know you need to. Whatever happens happens, fear and guilt are retarded emotions and thoughts to pander to at any point in your life. Nothing is as serious as those emotions will try and get you to believe. You are young, have health, are secure, have people who you love/love you, so actually you are incredibly fortunate, and it is good to also see this perspective whenever you get wound up on your particular problems because it gets lost so easily.

I hope some of this helps you decide what you are going to do. I certainly can't claim to help you with it in any other way.

The folio

In terms of your folio, I think you need to keep cycling new work in all the time. Aim at adding one folio piece a month if you can.

Replace the things that look like studies first (photo study of sunset, the girl portrait) with real illustrative or design work. Nobody wants to see your studies. They aren't hiring you to study something for them.

You have to showcase in your folio what you would like to be doing for clients, or they won't have any idea what you can actually do and will be more likely to pass you up.

If you want to design characters you need to have more full character design pieces in there, rather than characters obscured from the waist down or in some other way as in almost all the illustrative pieces. I really like the way the Contrast piece is painted, but there is no character design in there at all. So what will this say to a potential client?

Your male upper arm (biceps and triceps) are perhaps just a little too odd at the moment to pass as just stylised. Might need some more general anatomy study.

When doing new pieces, think about showing the figures in more dynamic poses, to show you can do figures in action as well, and maybe try and tackle different eras, character types etc.

I think you have a quality of work that could probably get you some work right now. Most likely these will be with Indie companies and on the low end / minimum wage scale (ie sub $100 dollar flat rates) but it is something, especially if you don't need more than $300 a month.

I think you may even be able to get entry level card art for companies like Fantasy Flight Games which does fit your style with a few more tailored pieces. I think with your skill level you probably have to show them a few card art type pieces in your folio before you would get work, but don't let that stop you from applying and working on some tailored pieces at the same time. The pay rate for these cards are $100 per card. For 8+ hours of work, this is horrendous pay and I only accepted to do them at first, to get some clients under the belt.
Link to a card database to show you what they accept:

search search search, post post post

If you want freelance work, you MUST start applying and doing this as a habit daily / weekly. Why wait for some mythical future point where the planets all align and you are the ultimate skill master before doing so? Bollocks. Just do it and see where it goes.

Start posting your folio onto job threads in polycount,, even reddit has a /gamedevclassifieds where I have secured paying work.

Start looking for interesting projects on the net: game dev forums, card and board game art forums and companies, kickstarter is a good place to go to for in-development work.
Most of my clients I have been getting are from my own folio posts on sites and from me cold emailing AD's or companies that had cool projects I wanted to be a part of just letting them know I was available. My best contracts have come from that, so you need to take the initiative.

This brings up another very important point, don't ever self-censor your own work when thinking about sending to potential clients. Just write something short and sweet maybe drawing their attention to the type of thing you prefer, insert a link, be polite and then get out of your own godamn way and hit send.

Ok that's enough. hope it helped

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Thanks guys. This really like REALLY helped a lot.
I left university aside for this year, pursuing less than half of subjects.
I've been drawing a lot, never feeling the artists block, joined a urban sketchbook club, my sketchbook is filling up faster and faster and I'm overall really happy with the present. I'm happy with my new works but also determined to push forward and make my masterpieces this summer.

This journey never seems to repeat itself and I'm constantly learning about art and life and its a really fulfilling life to the point that even if in the end it leaves me homeless and starving, I can not regret it.
Many of you, I think know what I'm talking about and for those less experienced than me keep drawing and you will understand.

Thanks again guys. Love you.

Awesome stuff man, very happy for you.
Ive been off of college for 2 years now , this year im still not going , and I started to feel that im going nowhere with my self taught route, and wether I am going to find a stable job in the long run.
But then I get the same peeps Iam having in the hangouts and i realized im not alone, it simply just takes time and dedicated hard work no matter what the circumstances.

The question is wether getting the job you always wanted will be the end goal , and youll forever have a happy life.
Youre never gonna know until you get there. So have fun what youre doing at the moment at least.


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