Art is a solitary pursuit. As artists we spend hours and hours holed up in our studios, living the lives of modern day hermits. Sure, we get out sometimes. That’s what conventions are for, after all. But by and large most of us are all too happy to spend more time with our brushes/tablets than with our fellow human beings.
In being a professional artist, however, we need to foster a sense of community and camaraderie with our fellow artists. Far too often I see artists treating the art world like a huge competition. It’s them versus the world. They need to reach the top no matter how many artists they have to climb over to get there. They’ll fight tooth and nails to make it.
And you know what? They might do it. They might manage to get to the top.
But is that the way you want to get there?
I know from my own personal experience that treating art like a big, collaborative community is far more enjoyable—and beneficial, too. Surrounding myself with like-minded and encouraging peers has allowed me to rise in the illustration & concept art fields much, much faster than if I had simply tried to do it on my own. The vast majority of my early jobs came about because of people I knew. And now that I’m a little further along and somehow manage to get more job offers than my time allows, I get to repay that favor by helping people just starting out. That’s what it’s all about. Not beating down everyone else to get to the top but rather trying to elevate the whole field.
So help those around you. Provide encouragement, advice, and aid in any way you can. Don’t do it so that you can ask them for a favor down the road. Do it because you can and should do it. Do it because helping others feels awesome. Do it because, if we all do it, the art world will become that much more awesome.