Do you have advice for young artists?

I was asked by a friend to give advice to a young artist in high school. Here is what 50-year-old Tony would say to daydreamy-teenage Tony:

• Don’t stop drawing. It’s a talent that takes years to refine.

• Listen to what people say, even if you don’t agree with them. Teachers, friends and family usually offer advice from the heart and their experience.

• Copy every artist you love. If you want to learn how they did it, you have to be them.

• Being afraid is okay. But pushing yourself leads to realizing what you’re capable of.
• Failure is part of success. I never get it right the first time, EVER. There are times I never quite figure it out, but I take what I learned and apply it to the next drawing.
• Success isn’t money and it isn’t fame. Its a feeling of accomplishment and creating something that didn’t exist before.
• Satisfy yourself first. If you love what you do, others will too….and, of course, good luck!
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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.