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Careers in Writing and Art

isaac17isaac17 Registered User regular
edited June 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello one and all,

I'm 18 right now, just got out of high school, and I'm wondering what sort of careers are possible in art. I don't have really high expectations for income, but I DO plan on supporting a family sometime in the future, so I need to be able to move up to earning around 90,000 per year after a while. I have a year and a half of college generals done from AP Classes in high school, and I have enough money saved up that I'm going to a year of school starting in september. I know I should never have the 'I'm special' mindset, but I know I'm fairly intelligent and have a lot of confidence in going where ever I want to go in life. I also have an intense ability to focus and work hard on a project I feel passionately about.

Most of my interest lies in wanting to draw/do photoshop, but I want to work on my own projects. Ideally for me would be doing the comic thing, I obviously don't have the creative genius to do something as hilarious as Penny Arcade, but something along the lines of Megatokyo or Machall seem more within my reach (though I don't think Ian/Matt really made any money doing machall, I think Fred does megatokyo for a living). I don't like planning on my wife having a career, so income does play a big part. Other careers I've thought about include being a concept artist, art director, or just an artist on a game development team.

Like I said, I don't have any idea what the industry is like, or what my chances are. I want to plan on going to an art school when I get back from my mission in 3 years (I'll already have 2+ years of school done when I get back), but I really have no idea what kind of career options are out there.

I also have a pretty big interest in writing, but from what I've heard careers in writing can be brutal and have no guarantee of income (though I guess it's all about quality content, if I write an amazing novel it will eventually be recognized as that), and I really don't feel like going to school for a writing career, I've heard it's a lot of B.S., and I don't really need the paper saying I passed school if I'm writing novels anyway (though I'd be taking tons of writing courses regardless of not getting the degree).

Any and all advice is GREATLY appreciated, thanks.

isaac17 on
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Posts

  • RecklessReckless Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I don't know all too much about the art field, but I can speak about writing. I went to school at first as a Writing major. After my first semester, it dawned on me that, yeah, I'm honing my craft and becoming a technically proficient writer, but that means bupkis when it comes down to actually writing anything worthwhile. I changed my major over and I plan on having more than a few adventures in my field to write about later.

    If you want to be a good writer, you've got to have an experience to share and something to say. Kurt Vonnegut didn't just decide to write anti-war novels and shorts, he survived the firebombing of Dresden and that set his course, and Melville didn't write Moby Dick without having spent time on various ocean voyages.

    In short, you can go to school to learn the craft of writing, but not to learn what to write about. That's what life experience is for, and you may not have anything interesting to share right out of college.

    Reckless on
  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Reckless wrote: »
    In short, you can go to school to learn the craft of writing, but not to learn what to write about. That's what life experience is for, and you may not have anything interesting to share right out of college.

    i completely disagree. having just finished an MA in creative writing and completed a decent length historical-ish drama i can safely say it never would have happened without the observational and critical skills i developed over five years of university and hard criticisms, not to mention reasearch tools and how to use them etc. you don't need to be a wild adventurer or war veteran to write fantastic stories, and chances are even if you have had a fantastic life what you write will be crappy on anything other than a 'oh wow that's so crazy' level

    it takes time and hard work to understand things like editing, pacing, technical skills like dialogue, choreography, structure, denoument, figurative language, repetition, themes - it takes a lot of work to learn how you can identify areas where this stuff can be injected into your own prose

    but the op sounds like he needs to figure what exactly he wants to do. are you just dying for an outlet without any idea of what you're best at? here's what you have to do: decide. immediately. decide and start tonight. if it's art, buy a sketchbook, if it's writing, open up a blank word document. if you're dedicated enough a course will open up whereby you'll make money from your skills, but 'i just want to be generally creative yeah' is going to fill up a few nights in front of the computer but do not much more

    p.s: in case you can't tell i loved my degree(s) and couldn't care less what it will afford me in terms of a career. it justifies itself, and when you discover a creative skill that you're good enough at to feel genuinely proud of, money can spill out in your wake for all you'll care

    bsjezz on
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  • isaac17isaac17 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    bsjezz wrote: »
    here's what you have to do: decide. immediately. decide and start tonight. if it's art, buy a sketchbook, if it's writing, open up a blank word document. if you're dedicated enough a course will open up whereby you'll make money from your skills, but 'i just want to be generally creative yeah' is going to fill up a few nights in front of the computer but do not much more

    p.s: in case you can't tell i loved my degree(s) and couldn't care less what it will afford me in terms of a career. it justifies itself, and when you discover a creative skill that you're good enough at to feel genuinely proud of, money can spill out in your wake for all you'll care

    I can't tell you how much that's already lightened my mood about this whole thing, and I really am going to take your advice on that. The biggest thing for me to realize is that I'm 18 and just graduated from high school 3 weeks ago. Yeah, it would be nice if I had a surefire plan for college and a career after, but in the meantime, I can pursue my dreams full speed ahead, starting today, without having to worry about it supporting me.

    I obviously still want every shred of advice anyone here has to offer, but that's already helped me a great deal

    isaac17 on
  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    isaac17 wrote: »
    if I write an amazing novel it will eventually be recognized as that

    Ah, to be young again.

    First of all, as unfair as it seems, you might write a great novel, but that doesn't mean it will get publish. Confederacy of Dunces, one of the best humor books, and a pulitzer winning book did not get published until 11 years after the author killed himself. There's a lot that goes on to making a living purely out of writing, talent is one, but perseverance, and in some point, connections also goes into it.

    Whether you need school or not...I guess that comes down to you. There's tons of writers that never had any kind of writing schoolin, but there's also others that will recommend it. I'll tell you I'm close to finishing my own English degree, and looking to go into grad school for creative writing, and I don't regret it. I have become a better writer because of it. But I also wonder if I'mlaocking some life experience.


    And man, if you want to be earning 90k in a few years, I don't know if art or writing would be the field I would choose. I don't even know if the biggest webcomic creators make that much.

    Don't let that stop you though. If you want to be an artist, then do it. Head to the artist section here and show some stuff, take the crits to heart and continue to draw.

    noir_blood on
  • isaac17isaac17 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    noir_blood wrote: »
    isaac17 wrote: »
    if I write an amazing novel it will eventually be recognized as that

    Ah, to be young again.

    First of all, as unfair as it seems, you might write a great novel, but that doesn't mean it will get publish. Confederacy of Dunces, one of the best humor books, and a pulitzer winning book did not get published until 11 years after the author killed himself. There's a lot that goes on to making a living purely out of writing, talent is one, but perseverance, and in some point, connections also goes into it.

    Whether you need school or not...I guess that comes down to you. There's tons of writers that never had any kind of writing schoolin, but there's also others that will recommend it. I'll tell you I'm close to finishing my own English degree, and looking to go into grad school for creative writing, and I don't regret it. I have become a better writer because of it. But I also wonder if I'mlaocking some life experience.


    And man, if you want to be earning 90k in a few years, I don't know if art or writing would be the field I would choose. I don't even know if the biggest webcomic creators make that much.

    Don't let that stop you though. If you want to be an artist, then do it. Head to the artist section here and show some stuff, take the crits to heart and continue to draw.

    By 'a few years', you mean 10, right? :) I don't plan on having to support a family before I'm 27, 28 ish.

    isaac17 on
  • Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones jerseyRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I'm in almost exactly the same place as you. I graduated high school on the 17th, and it's really starting to hit me what I want to do with myself. I would absolutely love to end up writing as a career, but having done some research into it it's going to be incredibly hard to pull off, what with my inability to focus well on my studies. Even if I were able to focus, by nature it is just an incredibly ridiculous environment.

    Mustachio Jones on
  • DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    "Anyone who has lived to the age of 18 has enough stories to last a lifetime." In terms of writing, you just need to your experiences, however mundane they may seem, and embellish them, work them, EDIT them, until they become a worthwhile story. Writing is less about writing and more about editing and revising.

    However, back to the subject at hand, I would recommend you let your art be second. The only reason I say this is that unless you are already established and know, it is very difficult to get a break. However, this does not mean you have to give it up. Your art becomes your hobby for a while. In the meantime you can hone your photoshop skills and get tons of jobs out there, especially if you can also use other Adobe programs in conjuction with it. A lot of firm you probably aren't even think of are in desperate need of talented people to create graphics and layouts for promotional and marketing materials, not mention just about everything else you can think of. I'm an environmental scientist, but my firm is very reliant on our graphics guys to create cover layouts, maps and photo layouts for our documents, marketing materials, public presentation materials, etc.

    Dalboz on
  • isaac17isaac17 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Well I'm seeing lots of opportunity out there once I lower my standards to working on corporate stuff instead of my own projects, and that's the ENTIRE reason I have interest in writing/art. It's not the act of drawing that attracts me, but the creating that pulls me in. So I'm not sure that what I'm really looking for deep down is a career writing or drawing per se, but more working on projects that truly interest me, and books/art/games are what I love most.

    isaac17 on
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2008
    I'd recommend that you also get a 'day job', especially if you plan on supporting a family one day, until you make your 'big break'. You could even make enough money just writing a blog to sustain you and a family (Some blogers - not many mind, but some - make six figure incomes) but you have to build up to that level, whatever you choose to do. In the meantime, you need to pay the bills and eat and you always have to consider that, sadly, you may never get that big break so a fall back career is important.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • PongePonge Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Have you got a portfolio that we can see?

    Ponge on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Well I left highschool wanting to be a writer/designer/artist/creative type. I went and studied design and majored in advertising, because it was pretty awesomely creative in a bunch of different mediums. The problem was that I hated my time at university (except my major units) and it really wore through my love of design and I stopped writing completely.

    So I've been working a regular day job since I quit uni and haven't done anything much with my education, outside of five or six freelance jobs a year. But I've been drawing and writing and painting like nobodies business, and hey, i actually enjoy it again. Time in the 'real world' has really helped me realise what I really enjoy doing.

    And now, with some life experience and realistic expectations, I'm going back to university next year, to finish my degree and further my studies in areas that I know I'm genuinely keen on. I blame my abhorrence towards university on a mediocre understaffed design faculty that was, in the words of one of my most respected lecturers there, "a pack of vipers". So I'm going to a better university and I'm going to treat it like I'd treat my full time job -- no fuck ups, no sick days, no hang overs.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're creative, you'll keep creating whether you're at college or not, and eventually something good will come of it, even if it's just getting a neat job or designing sets for your friends bands music video, or drawing your partner an awesome fairy tale book just for fun, or going back to college after you quit in disgust with a renewed passion to succeed.

    desperaterobots on
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    isaac17 wrote: »
    Well I'm seeing lots of opportunity out there once I lower my standards to working on corporate stuff instead of my own projects, and that's the ENTIRE reason I have interest in writing/art. It's not the act of drawing that attracts me, but the creating that pulls me in. So I'm not sure that what I'm really looking for deep down is a career writing or drawing per se, but more working on projects that truly interest me, and books/art/games are what I love most.

    In my experience, in games you will struggle to be truly creative in an art role. You will always be working to someone else's specification and it's one of the things that turns me off after being in the industry - if I'm modelling something, it's always something the concept artist has drawn in meticulous detail. If I was a concept artist, it would be to fit what the writer has laid down. The writer writes his story around the overall design. The creative role, then, is the Lead Designer, which oddly enough spends very little of his time actually designing.

    Willeth on
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2008
    Willeth is right about games. Its a team, and if you cant lay your grand ideas back and happy on the team, the industry wont work out for you.

    I dont know anyone at art school who doesnt have some sort of day job plan for when they get out of school, as a back up if they dont get that grand gaming job. Its something to keep in mind. Either way, what ever you want to do, you should be doing it everyday. even if for like five minutes (especially with drawing).

    I'f this is all about your ideas and what you want to do, you will need another job to support this. Its just something you have to love doing. I draw because I cant really seem to exist without drawing, and I'd rather do it on a team than not do it at all. You can have it as a "hobby" and still take your projects really far and work on them with diligence. I've never encountered a web comic that got huge and sucsessful right of the bat, they start as side projects.

    Iruka on
  • Houk the NamebringerHouk the Namebringer Nipples The EchidnaRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I can't speak to art, since I can't draw, but I will say that you shouldn't write hoping to make any money. Even if you do get a novel published, that doesn't mean that it'll sell enough to make much money, and then you gotta write another one, and another one, and perhaps even a fourth, if you ever wanna quit your dayjob. And then they expect you to keep on writing them. Pretty unrealistic of them, you ask me.

    But seriously, if your mindset is 'yeah i kinda wanna write' then you're never gonna sell anything. Because the writers that sell their work are the ones that feel they have to write, because they can't do anything else or nothing else makes them happy. And on top of that, there's plenty of people who feel that way and will still never sell anything.

    So you should absolutely write if you feel you would enjoy it, but do it for the love of writing first because in the end, that may be the only reward it brings you. Which is still a pretty bitchin reward, when you think about it.

    Houk the Namebringer on
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Why don't you go talk to the art department at the local university / college or set up an appointment with their academic advisors? I'm sure they'd be able to give you more information, introduce you to some professors or local artists and find out how they make their living, what kind of training they had and so on.

    KVW on
  • ArdorArdor Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I'm unable to comment on your field since I have little experience with it, but I can try to comment on the money. A quick google search indicates that the average person with a bachelors degree will make nowhere near the 90k you are looking for. While you may have the potential to do so much later in your career, you should remember that most people who tend to make money like that are above the average in all cases and potentially have more education which allows them to get jobs with a better potential to grow.

    Keep in mind that unless you are going to fuly provide for a stay at home wife with you raising the family soley on your income, you can have 2 incomes combined with your future wife's which can probably come out around 80-90k depending on education, field etc.

    When I graduated college with a B.S in Chemistry, I was told the average salary for someone doing chemistry with a bachelor's degree was probably around 40-45k in my area (Minnesota). The average for a person with a bachelor's degree of any type was maybe around 35k. Now given I didn't do much research on it but from what I know of how much my friends make, this was decently accurate.

    Looking in my career field, which is not chemistry, I started at 40k almost 5 years ago and I wouldn't have the chance to make 90k until much later in my career which wouldn't be until I was 40-50. This is if I get lucky and promote at some kind of decent rate AND will not have any issues with promotions to management or upper management positions due to only having a bachelors later in life. While that may not be an issue for people today, it may be an issue depending on your field in 10, 20 or 30 years.

    Also, please keep in mind that most schools will advertise a fairly high salary on what their graduates get or what the field will pay. In many cases, this is not going to be accurate since it depends on a number of different factors, one being it samples those who respond to their surveys. Just try not to get caught up in thinking you are worth a ton of money out of school, only to turn job fantastic job offers that aren't paying you what you've been taught to think you are worth. Some people get great offers, many do not. I've seen a number of graduates in my area think they are worth much more than what a company will pay them and they have turned down some great job opportunities due to it.

    Just my 2 cents. Good luck with everything.

    Ardor on
  • isaac17isaac17 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Am I getting my 90k number right? If I want to get a house, support 2-3 kids and my wife, pay for insurance and 2 cheapish cars (carolla type cars), insurance, gas, bills, etc, 85,000 is the number my dad and I came up with (before taxes) to live that kind of lifestyle. The wife having an extra income is a possibility, but like I said, I don't want to make her work her whole life to support our family...

    The reason for the writing career idea is simply that I LOVE books, have always kinda wanted to do that, and I had an AP writing class last year that made me love my late nights up writing my own stuff (had to write 1000 words each week on top of class work). It was a blast, so I thought it would be a fun career, but if it's not realistic, it's not like it's my only option.

    I pretty much started this thread on the premise of, I want to do art and write, and need a way of turning that into a career or finding a day job that compliments that.

    I'm pretty big into music, I've always thought I was going into music, as I've been writing and recording a single album that we're about to finish (after investing 20,000$ in studio gear and 4 years of my life into it), but I'm not seeing that going anywhere as most music guys I've talked to are just doing other bands projects, and most BIG bands hardly make a dime. I do the music thing because I love every second of it, not because I see it getting me anywhere in a career, and I could do that with the writing/art thing too, but I'm getting old enough that it's time to start looking at my career options.

    It's just hard to know that I'm capable of being great at whatever I want to do, and seeing myself decide on a career that I don't really want to be in.
    (oh, and thanks for all the responses, keep them coming :) )

    isaac17 on
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    $90k is a very VERY high income for most art/design jobs (which, depending on area, will generally not get you more than $40-$60k). If you want to get to that number, start considering something that involves more computer oriented or administrative work.

    Heartlash on
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  • isaac17isaac17 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Heartlash wrote: »
    $90k is a very VERY high income for most art/design jobs (which, depending on area, will generally not get you more than $40-$60k). If you want to get to that number, start considering something that involves more computer oriented or administrative work.

    I was huge into computer science and computer programing through junior high (I'm proficient in Java, C++, HTML, PHP, MySQL, etc..), but I had a few jobs doing that kind of stuff for other people (made great pay for being that young, more than I make now...), and I disliked working on other people's projects so much that I decided against it. I even got into programming games & stuff, but real game teams are so loaded with programmers I'd end up writing a very small amount of the game. Doesn't sound like fun.

    My dad makes a killing in management. He got his degree in engineering, and now he pretty much owns and engineering firm (with 100+ employees), causing him to make 2 salaries and then huge bonuses. But again, not my thing.

    I'm at that fight club stage in life. I know I could make all the money I could ever want (not true, cause you'll always want more), but I'd rather be doing something small that I have passion for. I'm starting to see a pattern in that most design/art jobs won't really be me pursuing my own projects anyway, so I should probably instead find a career that I enjoy while trying to get my own stuff good enough to make money.

    Is my thinking flawed?

    isaac17 on
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    isaac17 wrote: »
    I'm starting to see a pattern in that most design/art jobs won't really be me pursuing my own projects anyway, so I should probably instead find a career that I enjoy while trying to get my own stuff good enough to make money.

    This is the thinking that most closely mirrors my experience.

    However, consider a job in art/writing while you pursue your own career in art/writing in your spare time. While you'll be doing someone else's work for most of the day, you'll be getting practice and the same amount of time to work on your own freeform stuff.

    Willeth on
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  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    isaac17 wrote: »
    Am I getting my 90k number right? If I want to get a house, support 2-3 kids and my wife, pay for insurance and 2 cheapish cars (carolla type cars), insurance, gas, bills, etc, 85,000 is the number my dad and I came up with (before taxes) to live that kind of lifestyle. The wife having an extra income is a possibility, but like I said, I don't want to make her work her whole life to support our family...

    Hey man, you're 18, why are you even sweating the whole kids and marriage thing? Do you have a girlfriend you want to marry right now? If not, then I would suggest not worrying about those kind of things right now. Just go into school with an open mind. I'm lots of people here can tell you how their college plans didn't come out exactly like they pictured it would. I originally wanted to go into computer science, because hey, I I like playing games, so what would be better than making them? Then I realized just how badly that kind of work would be for me. I also realized how much I truly love to write, and that's where I now am.

    noir_blood on
  • ArdorArdor Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    isaac17 wrote: »
    Am I getting my 90k number right? If I want to get a house, support 2-3 kids and my wife, pay for insurance and 2 cheapish cars (carolla type cars), insurance, gas, bills, etc, 85,000 is the number my dad and I came up with (before taxes) to live that kind of lifestyle. The wife having an extra income is a possibility, but like I said, I don't want to make her work her whole life to support our family...

    This depends on where you are living. In my county, the median income per household/family is roughly $70k and they live just fine with several kids, 2 cars etc. (Dakota county, MN)

    I know a lot of people who live the lifestyle you want with less, their lives may be more stressful, but they can manage.

    I just want to caution you not to be crushed when you realize you'll likely be starting pay around the 40k or so like most people and while you can work yourself up to 90k, it depends mostly on the field you choose and the credentials you have. Knowing people helps as well.

    I wouldn't worry about this much at all as far as money goes. The important thing to do is get yourself an education that gives you the options you'll want or need for when you graduate. You can figure the rest out as time passes and you experience more. My expectations going into college and joining the workforce after college to now have changed quite a bit.

    Ardor on
  • flatlinegraphicsflatlinegraphics Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    90k right out of college is a dream. outright fantasy. especially in the creative feilds. an exceptional designer will get mid to high 30s. 3-4 years experience, 50ish. art director, 60ish. creative director, 70ish. in a major market (seattle, nyc, san fran, la) you can probably half all of those numbers, as thats what starbucks pays. as in, you will be competing against a hard market, where almost everyone is better than you, and you will be working at starbucks with the other aspiring designers.
    artist? good luck. if you really push, you might luck into a spot somewhere. but the odds are against you.
    writer? again. most likely going to have to bite the bullet and get a job as a copywriter for some corp. unless you have a trust fund and can live off your parents while you write the next great american novel.

    and on top of all that, salary can vary considerably depending on area. you will get paid more in the major metro areas, but understand that cost of living will also be much higher. median house price in my area is 500k. my 700 sq ft condo is/was 99k. in san fran/ la you would be talking 1 mil and up for a house. this would buy you a plantation in alabama. so that 90k 'magic' number can be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay off.

    plus, we are sliding into a recession, and the dollar value is dropping. so who knows, you might hit 90k, but it may be worth half of what it is today.

    flatlinegraphics on
  • Dulcius_ex_asperisDulcius_ex_asperis Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I just graduated with a B.A. in English, and I'm writing press and media releases for a university's PR department. If I were you, I'd be flexible about the writing aspect. It seems that graphic design would perhaps be more difficult than writing. However, there will always be a need for someone to research and carefully write news, ad copy, press releases, what have you. You can always work on your novel at night.

    I love my job. And actually I wouldn't mind being a copywriter for a big corporation, either. Writing can be a tough field, but writing is also a skill many people don't have. I was surprised at some people's lack of mastery in their own language.

    So I'd recommend that you study up and be ready to possibly write/edit for a job. It will make you that much more viable as a writer. If you can write in a second language, even better.

    Dulcius_ex_asperis on
  • isaac17isaac17 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    90k right out of college is a dream. outright fantasy. especially in the creative feilds. an exceptional designer will get mid to high 30s. 3-4 years experience, 50ish. art director, 60ish. creative director, 70ish. in a major market (seattle, nyc, san fran, la) you can probably half all of those numbers, as thats what starbucks pays. as in, you will be competing against a hard market, where almost everyone is better than you, and you will be working at starbucks with the other aspiring designers.
    artist? good luck. if you really push, you might luck into a spot somewhere. but the odds are against you.
    writer? again. most likely going to have to bite the bullet and get a job as a copywriter for some corp. unless you have a trust fund and can live off your parents while you write the next great american novel.

    and on top of all that, salary can vary considerably depending on area. you will get paid more in the major metro areas, but understand that cost of living will also be much higher. median house price in my area is 500k. my 700 sq ft condo is/was 99k. in san fran/ la you would be talking 1 mil and up for a house. this would buy you a plantation in alabama. so that 90k 'magic' number can be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay off.

    plus, we are sliding into a recession, and the dollar value is dropping. so who knows, you might hit 90k, but it may be worth half of what it is today.

    First off, I never said right out of college, I said that's my end goal, so I can EVENTUALLY support a family. And no, I don't plan on getting married till I'm 24/25 at least. I'm just trying to make a smart decision. The only reason the 90k number is relevant is in comparing average cost of living with average job pay.

    And if you're right about all that, how the hell do so many people support families? Are all creative endeavors doomed to bringing me no money for all eternity, or are you just a pessimist? I appreciate reality checks, but try to understand where I'm coming from here. Is it possible to support a family as a writer/artist, or do I need to sell my soul in this capitalistic society and go into computer science?

    isaac17 on
  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    isaac17 wrote: »
    90k right out of college is a dream. outright fantasy. especially in the creative feilds. an exceptional designer will get mid to high 30s. 3-4 years experience, 50ish. art director, 60ish. creative director, 70ish. in a major market (seattle, nyc, san fran, la) you can probably half all of those numbers, as thats what starbucks pays. as in, you will be competing against a hard market, where almost everyone is better than you, and you will be working at starbucks with the other aspiring designers.
    artist? good luck. if you really push, you might luck into a spot somewhere. but the odds are against you.
    writer? again. most likely going to have to bite the bullet and get a job as a copywriter for some corp. unless you have a trust fund and can live off your parents while you write the next great american novel.

    and on top of all that, salary can vary considerably depending on area. you will get paid more in the major metro areas, but understand that cost of living will also be much higher. median house price in my area is 500k. my 700 sq ft condo is/was 99k. in san fran/ la you would be talking 1 mil and up for a house. this would buy you a plantation in alabama. so that 90k 'magic' number can be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay off.

    plus, we are sliding into a recession, and the dollar value is dropping. so who knows, you might hit 90k, but it may be worth half of what it is today.

    First off, I never said right out of college, I said that's my end goal, so I can EVENTUALLY support a family. And no, I don't plan on getting married till I'm 24/25 at least. I'm just trying to make a smart decision. The only reason the 90k number is relevant is in comparing average cost of living with average job pay.

    And if you're right about all that, how the hell do so many people support families? Are all creative endeavors doomed to bringing me no money for all eternity, or are you just a pessimist? I appreciate reality checks, but try to understand where I'm coming from here. Is it possible to support a family as a writer/artist, or do I need to sell my soul in this capitalistic society and go into computer science?

    they manage, but they do so with support from their spouses. to expect to bring up a family and support another adult on a creative wage is very short-sighted. the writers, academics and creative people i know don't struggle, but they are in a double income situation

    what makes you think your partner won't want a satisfying, possibly creative source of income as you do? this isn't the 50's, women aren't universally interested in just staying home and putting clothes on the line anymore. in fact, if you're the creative half of the relationship, chances are you're going to have to suck it up and do that yourself.

    you really have to sort out your priorities. if you really had the drive to be an artist you wouldn't have even worried about the money, you'd just do it. i'm not saying you can't work this drive up, but wringing your hair about what riches it will afford you isn't going to help at all. every artist has the niggling hope of living a comfortable life off their skills, but only a rare few make it - that doesn't stop the others from feeling like it's all been worthwhile

    in conclusion, either stop worrying about the next decade's budget, or go sign up to be an accountant

    bsjezz on
    sC4Q4nq.jpg
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    isaac17 wrote: »
    90k right out of college is a dream. outright fantasy. especially in the creative feilds. an exceptional designer will get mid to high 30s. 3-4 years experience, 50ish. art director, 60ish. creative director, 70ish. in a major market (seattle, nyc, san fran, la) you can probably half all of those numbers, as thats what starbucks pays. as in, you will be competing against a hard market, where almost everyone is better than you, and you will be working at starbucks with the other aspiring designers.
    artist? good luck. if you really push, you might luck into a spot somewhere. but the odds are against you.
    writer? again. most likely going to have to bite the bullet and get a job as a copywriter for some corp. unless you have a trust fund and can live off your parents while you write the next great american novel.

    and on top of all that, salary can vary considerably depending on area. you will get paid more in the major metro areas, but understand that cost of living will also be much higher. median house price in my area is 500k. my 700 sq ft condo is/was 99k. in san fran/ la you would be talking 1 mil and up for a house. this would buy you a plantation in alabama. so that 90k 'magic' number can be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay off.

    plus, we are sliding into a recession, and the dollar value is dropping. so who knows, you might hit 90k, but it may be worth half of what it is today.

    First off, I never said right out of college, I said that's my end goal, so I can EVENTUALLY support a family. And no, I don't plan on getting married till I'm 24/25 at least. I'm just trying to make a smart decision. The only reason the 90k number is relevant is in comparing average cost of living with average job pay.

    And if you're right about all that, how the hell do so many people support families? Are all creative endeavors doomed to bringing me no money for all eternity, or are you just a pessimist? I appreciate reality checks, but try to understand where I'm coming from here. Is it possible to support a family as a writer/artist, or do I need to sell my soul in this capitalistic society and go into computer science?

    Unfortunately most "pure" creative endeavors like music, art, and writing-for-pleasure (as opposed to writing ads and such) just are not careers where you can expect to make a lot of money. Some people DO make a lot of money at them, but that's because they were not only talented but also lucky. That's why you can't count on it for your own life. Someone always wins the lottery, but the odds are it won't be you, right? Same with a high paying artsy job a few years out of college . . . You are probably not going to be the one in a million exception.

    I'm not sure how you came up with the 90k amount, but in the office where I worked, me and my coworkers made about 25k and most of them had kids. All of them had spouses who worked, plus the company provided insurance at a reasonable price. None of them were picking through garbage cans or dressing their kids in rags, they all owned or leased cars, and most of them owned houses instead of renting. I don't think it takes as much as you think it does to get by.

    Since you enjoy writing, have you considered journalism? I'm not sure what it pays but it can be a steady job. Or graphic design, like someone mentioned.

    LadyM on
  • The Black HunterThe Black Hunter The key is a minimum of compromise, and a simple, unimpeachable reason to existRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    A simple fact is that everyone who has above average drawing ability wants to be an artist.

    They are a dime a dozen in many cases, and getting 90k from art is highly unlikely.

    You need a niche, and a damn strong one, if you want to go big in art. I dont mean "I am good at drawing animals", I mean "I can prototype an ergonomic 5 story office block within a week".

    Have a fall-back job, a strong one.
    Are all creative endeavors doomed to bringing me no money for all eternity, or are you just a pessimist? I appreciate reality checks, but try to understand where I'm coming from here. Is it possible to support a family as a writer/artist, or do I need to sell my soul in this capitalistic society and go into computer science?
    Short answer, realistically?

    Yes

    The Black Hunter on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Okay, so I was a national finalist for a novella writing competition when I was 19. I met a guy there, another finalist. Same age. It was a young writers thing.

    He went to university and got an english degree and after writing for local music press and having had two books published, and having just come back from England from a book tour...

    Well. He's just started working in a call centre. You will need a day job (he was teaching at university for a while but no longer). If you're qualified for something you enjoy your day job will probably be better.

    desperaterobots on
  • ArdorArdor Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Isaac, just go take a look at average pay in your area with a google search or something. Most people with a 4 year degree never make 90k by themselves. Most of them live the life you want to live and they do just fine.

    We don't want you to feel like you either cannot start a family or get anywhere because you're not making money most people never make in the first place. Your father who sounds to be very successful? Does not mimic but a small majority of people in the country. I mean, wikipedia seems to suggest that the average pay across the country, keeping in mind all markets and pay etc, for a 4 year education is roughly 70k for ages 25+.

    I mean, I make a little more than half of your goal and I own a house and a car and go on vacation every so often and the like. If I was married and the wife worked part time, I'm sure we'd be just fine and be making nowehre near 90k total.

    Again, it depends on where you live. If you live in an area where everything is more expensive than MN for example, you should be able to make more than I do and need more to live in general.

    Ardor on
  • isaac17isaac17 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Ardor wrote: »
    Isaac, just go take a look at average pay in your area with a google search or something. Most people with a 4 year degree never make 90k by themselves. Most of them live the life you want to live and they do just fine.

    We don't want you to feel like you either cannot start a family or get anywhere because you're not making money most people never make in the first place. Your father who sounds to be very successful? Does not mimic but a small majority of people in the country. I mean, wikipedia seems to suggest that the average pay across the country, keeping in mind all markets and pay etc, for a 4 year education is roughly 70k for ages 25+.

    I mean, I make a little more than half of your goal and I own a house and a car and go on vacation every so often and the like. If I was married and the wife worked part time, I'm sure we'd be just fine and be making nowehre near 90k total.

    Again, it depends on where you live. If you live in an area where everything is more expensive than MN for example, you should be able to make more than I do and need more to live in general.

    That's at least a little comforting, I guess the biggest decision I need to make in the near future is what my backup plan/job is going to be. I only have to go to 2.5 more years of school, and most my generals are done, so that puts a little pressure on when my decision needs to be made, but at the same time college is supposed to be for figuring out what I want to do, right? I guess it's full speed ahead with writing/art, and we'll see where that takes me.

    Thanks for the input everyone, it cleared up a lot of misconceptions and extinguished some fears that have been growing for the last little while :|

    isaac17 on
  • ArdorArdor Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    My honest suggestion as I stated above though is to give yourself as much opportunity you can. That doesn't mean getting a comp sci degree because it has the most growth potential or job opportunities, it means going out there and finding out what it takes to become what you want.

    You may find it easier to go into a different career and do part time writing or write as a hobby until you get picked up so you are supoprting yourself while moving ahead with what you really want to do.

    Talk to people in the field you think you want to get into and find out what they did to get there and what they enjoy or do not enjoy about the job.

    For example, I found computer programming to be fun, but not when I had to do mundane tasks that other people who know nothing about programming want done. Since the majority of entry level positions are things I would never enjoy, I figured I shouldn't go after that. I actually did a job shadow or two to figure that out.

    See if you can hook up with people who have gotten jobs in your field at your school through career resources or the department head and see if you can't talk to some of them. They will have the better information. I'm also willing to bet at least one or two people who have posted in this thread have experience as well, take it to pms if you want, but see what they have to offer about the field.

    There's a lot of fun jobs out there, but with the demand being high, the pay is lower because people don't have to pay those folks as much with so many of them looking for the jobs. You might need to see what your chances are of getting a job you want at a pay you can be happy with out of school. Help educate yourself so you make a decision that gives you the most opportunities.

    Ardor on
  • Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones jerseyRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    My plan is to probably major in creative writing or something of that sort, but work up my sys admin skills because frankly, there is always a need for sys admins.


    I really want to end up writing for a living, but in order to get myself to that point, I realize I need to develop something else along the way in the event that I really don't have the raw talent and the ability that I think I might have.

    Mustachio Jones on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    For what it's worth, my dad graduated decades ago with an English degree and soon got a job as a copywrite (or something) for an ad agency. He then saw all the salesman making the money he wanted and having more fun than him, so he got into that. Blah blah blah years later he retired at around 50. If he wanted to write, he sure as shit has the time to do it now.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I've been soooo resisting posting in this thread because everyone else is basically right.

    90k is basically unfathomable. Maybe in 10 years with inflation, sure, that might be remotely feasible, but really, unless you are just a fuck awesome artist then you are not going to get there, and if you do, it will be as a creative director which means you will basically be management.

    Expect to make around 40-60k if you are good and get in with a good company.

    I noticed you mentioned you were into programming.

    Well, if you are willing to invest yourself in that then there are several places where art and technology intersect. I personally work at one of these intersections, and that is interactive media, specifically Flash design/development as well as high end web design and HTML.

    Actionscript is a rare skill and there are a ton of budding web companies that wish they had someone who could churn out serious high end Flash apps as Flash is coming back into vogue with the advent of RIA's.

    But for you if art is your thing then you will want a heavier dose of Flash design which is a whole different ball of wax, it takes a lot of creativity and know-how to produce good looking Flash, as well as an excellent sense for animation.

    Then the inevitable back end and HTML skills you will pick up during your training and work experience will go towards your web comic aspirations.

    Fair warning though Actionscript is pretty hard in comparison to most programming languages and platforms, it has many special rules and quirks you will not find anywhere else in programming and most of them are crucial to production.

    Jasconius on
  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Isaac, have you considered that when you and your father were doing the math that maybe he guided you to the 90k figure to try and convince you not to go to art school? Something you might want to keep in mind is that not many parents want their kids going to art school. Mostly because they don’t want an art school grad living in the basement in ten years. Where I grew up the high schools literally didn’t even tell us that there WERE art schools we could go to. They just had us all meet with people who worked for a secretarial temp agency.

    supabeast on
  • isaac17isaac17 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I forgot to mention, I'll be giving 10% of my income to my religion for the rest of my life, so we added that into the equation. My dad has a lot of confidence in me and has always said I'd do fine in whatever I wanted to do, so I doubt that's a part of it. Also keep in mind that we live in a very nice home, and we decided on 1,500 a month for the house payment. I know that's really dependent on where I live, but is that a reasonable average estimate, or were we way off?

    I've always wanted to be self employed, so I think that's part of my end goal. Lots of work, I know, but it's always kinda been my idea of a great career, poor early on in life but with lots of potential to move up and make a lot, doing what I love.

    As far as web development/Flash/Actionscript, that's something I really wouldn't mind doing. Still not ideal, but if I'm talking day job, it could work.

    The other idea floating in my head (not sure if it's realistic, but whatever), is looking for a job that either A) requires less time, giving me more time to work on my own stuff, or B) let's me quit my job early with enough money to support me till self employment kicks in (sorta like Improvolone said).

    isaac17 on
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I can't give much advice about working in the art field as I work in a totally different field, but I can say that as others have said, 90k is really high salary to be aiming for prior to having a family. I'd also keep in mind that the majority of families today are dual income, families with a sole bread-winner which aren't single parent families are becoming increasingly rare. Many, probably most women in this day and age expect to and more importantly, want to, work and have a career.

    In terms of what people in creative fields might make, I suggest you make a list of job titles for creative jobs and check out what they might earn in the area you want to live at: http://www.payscale.com/. You may also want to do some research about what average personal and household income levels are.

    If you don't know those job titles, find out. Once you go to school, whatever you choose to study, take full advantage of the career/job centre that your school should have in terms of planning how to transition your area of study into a career, and take advantage of Co-Op/Internship programs while you're studying to gain experience in a variety of places of employment, make contacts, and gain experience.

    Asking about what kind of co-op opportunities and placement assistance is available is something to consider when picking a school. There are programs and schools, including one I went to, where they have a 'Co-Op Program' but the school does little or nothing to help you actually get a placement.

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    isaac17 wrote: »
    I forgot to mention, I'll be giving 10% of my income to my religion for the rest of my life, so we added that into the equation. My dad has a lot of confidence in me and has always said I'd do fine in whatever I wanted to do, so I doubt that's a part of it. Also keep in mind that we live in a very nice home, and we decided on 1,500 a month for the house payment. I know that's really dependent on where I live, but is that a reasonable average estimate, or were we way off?

    I've always wanted to be self employed, so I think that's part of my end goal. Lots of work, I know, but it's always kinda been my idea of a great career, poor early on in life but with lots of potential to move up and make a lot, doing what I love.

    As far as web development/Flash/Actionscript, that's something I really wouldn't mind doing. Still not ideal, but if I'm talking day job, it could work.

    The other idea floating in my head (not sure if it's realistic, but whatever), is looking for a job that either A) requires less time, giving me more time to work on my own stuff, or B) let's me quit my job early with enough money to support me till self employment kicks in (sorta like Improvolone said).

    If Actionscript is not ideal for you then I wouldn't pursue it, it's a long learning curve and if you aren't really into it then you won't get very far with it. Also it's not a skill that is very conducive to freelancing.

    You seem to have a lot of really strange ideas about what is possible.

    On the one hand we are telling you that even if you are awesome you are likely looking at substantially less than what you cited as being acceptable "down the road" so presumably you'll be making even less a few years out of the gate, but on the other hand you

    1) Are set on giving 10% of your money to a Church - I bet you your opinions on this will change when the government slices off a juicy 25% right off that precious annual salary.

    2) Want to be in a position where you can either work part time or pool up enough money to sustain self employment?

    It's either freelancing (which is hard and unreliable), or RadioShack, which is probably not going to make for very cozy living conditions in the interim.

    I'm just trying to level with you. I am probably a few years ahead of you in life, just finishing college and I am in the upper percents for how lucky you can possibly be right out of the gate and the stuff you are talking about like tithing and working part time are a complete impossibility for me.

    Shit in life will happen to you, stuff will break, you will get sick, emergencies will happen and unless you are either very lucky or severely bite the bullet then some of the stuff you are talking about is going to be really hard at least in the early years of your post-college life.

    Just sayin'.

    Jasconius on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    isaac17 wrote: »
    I forgot to mention, I'll be giving 10% of my income to my religion for the rest of my life, so we added that into the equation. My dad has a lot of confidence in me and has always said I'd do fine in whatever I wanted to do, so I doubt that's a part of it. Also keep in mind that we live in a very nice home, and we decided on 1,500 a month for the house payment. I know that's really dependent on where I live, but is that a reasonable average estimate, or were we way off?


    Maaaan, I live near Orlando and pay 1000 a month for the physical building (not utilities). My fiance and I are both in our low 20s, work in the entertainment field, and I'm graduating college in December.
    We have a son, and get along decent enough.
    While it's fine to want to succeed, do not waste energy stressing over how you will make enough money to have a family. When you have a family you find the money. I'm not saying don't plan or think ahead, but holy hell you're way too young to think you know where you need to be.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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