Since childhood, I sketch, draw, paint almost daily and never wished to do anything else for a living.
I clearly remember when people around me decided to label me a "drawing geek": It was in 5th grade when a schoolmate throw me out of the blue a rather snide remark :
" - You think you're something special with your sketches and stuff, don't you ?!".
It left me speechless.
As an infant, I was very shy and wished to become somehow invisible, to be safe and left alone in my special drawing bubble where everything became possible. I never dreamed to attract any attention from my doodles. On the contrary ! It was my safe place, my hideout, my sanctuary.
In middle school, another striking event was the spark that ignited my wish to become a professional illustrator :
The very last day, my Art teacher wanted to talk with me (I was a rather ill at ease teenager back then). He told me that he "lost" my last drawing exercice, and, as an apology, he offered me a magnificent book : "The Story of Art" by Ernst Gombrich.
The "manga " tsunami
I read mangas frantically such as "Ranma 1/2", "Dr Slump", "Sailor Moon", "Gunnm", "Dragon Ball", "Video Girl Ai", "Monster", an interest I shared with my elder brother.
I was unconsciously learning the narrative codes of those comics from elsewhere.
(Back then, mangas were scarce and considered as far less prestigious than belgian comics). At the same time, a famous show for children named "Club Dorothée" allowed us little french to watch anime such as "City Hunter" (called "Nicky Larson" in France), "Saint Seiya" or "Captain Tsubasa" (known as "Olive et Tom") . It was a turning point in television and in the movie industry.
In highschool, my personality didn't changed much.
Quiet and distant, I only expressed me fully through art and was mediocre in mathematics, muddle-headed in history (A true issue with date numbers which I unfortunately still struggle with) but brilliant in literature because I always dreamed of illustrating all those important pieces and novels.
At that time, I was in literary section with plastic arts specialty.
Now that I am also a mom, I look at the way my parents raised me less harshly. They were really open-minded regarding the way people considered artistic career.
People who don't have "real jobs"
This fact remains true nowadays : There are those lingering misconceptions that undermine people in Creative Fields. "Creative people are lazy, artists aren't participating in the Economy".
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Most of us trained tirelessly in competitive and expensive Art Schools for years.
Once graduated at last, we have to keep our skills sharp and learn a lot about various fields (marketing, for example, is something we have to learn to find work). Professional illustrators have to pay taxes too but they don't have sick or parental leaves.
As if we were somehow punished to dare working in those fields and demanding payment on top of that !
On the brighter side, more and more companies are relying on illustrations and comic artists to advertise their products. Changes are happening, very slowly, and I dream of a time when creative people will be regarded as respectable professionals in public opinion.
In every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. - Pablo Picasso