Question submitted by Oliver B.

Hey Eliott, I’m an aspiring concept artist (hobbyist for now, still in high school), I have a important question concerning concept art. After a few months I realized that it takes an incredible amount of work to make it into the industry, I’ve heard some artists who are really amazing worked their asses of for years. Im talking about amazing, high-end professionals such as yourself or even guys like Eytan Zana, John j. Park or Maciej Kuciara. They obviously spend at least 10 hours a day on this stuff for years (probably more?). So Im asking you how it is possible to get this amount of work done each and every day. I’m usually totally exhausted after 5 hours of painting, when the brain runs out of glucose. How should I manage to triple this amount then?


Hey Oliver, that’s a great question. The short answer is: find the motivation to keep going.  Your “drive” (willingness to succeed) is your strongest ally.  If its really important to you, you will find a way to power through the exhaustion.  Take breaks of course- but power through.  How do you find the time?  Brace yourself… you might not like the answer.   The reality is: to get as good as those artists you mentioned, then you will likely need to sacrifice as I am sure they did (I know I had to).  Here are some things you can do 

Wake up earlier and/or go to sleep later.

If you can gain an extra hour each day, that adds up to an additional 7 hours a week. Going to high-school I averaged 6-8 hours of sleep each night.  In college it was 3-5. Right now, in my professional career I get about 6.  (but the hard work in college has already pad off.  I got the job) It can be exhausting, but if you are able to develop and maintain a routine of discipline you’d be better off for it.

 Get your parents involved

Inform your parents of your intentions and plans, so they understand if you need to stay up later and do not volunteer you for after-school activities/ events that you may not even care for.  It also helps if the will sign you up for art classes, etc. My dad used to wake me up at 5 am, so we could get to school an hour early and draw.

Draw in your spare time

Every chance you get. Between classes.  During lunch. Got five minutes?-Pull out your sketchbook and doodle. You’d be surprised how much you can draw while taking the bus to school or sitting on the toilet.

Reduce the amount of tv watching (And Video games too).

Keep the tv watching/ video game playing down to an hour each day.  Seriously.  Use the gained time to draw.

Take summer art classes

Even though school is out, you will need to stay sharp on those skills.  While everyone else is out playing, you need to be drawing and improving.  Sucks, i know, but this is the truth.  I took college summer classes 4 years in a  row while still attending high school.  Good times.  

Don’t worry, those are just a few suggestions- you can still have a social life with friends.  I know they sound intensive, but the more you can do, the better off you will be.  In my book: “An Insiders Guide For Students” I talk about this very topic and cover in great length, the things you should be doing on your own time, what you should be learning and more.  If you haven’t already, you might consider picking up a copy for a more in depth answer.

Hope that helps.