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Before Igor Staritsin was a well-established Matte Painter and Concept Artist who contributed to titles like “Maleficent,” “Game of Thrones,” “Assassin’s Creed Origins,” “Uncharted 4” and more…he was just like any beginner artist waiting for his big break. But Igor didn’t just sit around hoping his artistic career would pan out. He took the steps to position himself in a good place, so when his chance finally came, he was ready.

Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” While there is an element of luck involved in launching any career, your success as an artist mostly comes from preparation. So in addition to wishing upon stars and throwing pennies in fountains, take a look at these T.I.P.S to prepare for your big break:

  1. Try New Things
  2. Invest in Yourself
  3. Put in the time
  4. Share Your Work
Igor Staritsin, Matte Painter, Concept Artist, CGMA Instructor

1. Try New Things

As someone waiting for your big break, you don’t need to have everything figured out. There is no one specific path to success, so it’s in your best interest to try out as many options as possible! Experiment with styles, workflows, subject matter, and more! You never know what’s going to stick.

In 2009, Igor was working in web design and experimenting with his art. After a winter holiday trip to a park with his family, he decided to try out matte painting. This was one of his first attempts at this style and medium, but this was the piece that caught the attention of Disney representatives, who wanted to use the art as a billboard.

I couldn’t believe that was happening. Disney was getting in touch with me.

Igor Staritson, Matte Painter and Concept Artist

It just goes to show the more things you try, the more avenues to success you create.

Check out Igor Staritsin‘s CGMA course Matte Painting and Concept Art for Production.

2. Invest in Yourself

Just like Batman without all of his gadgets, you are severely limited when you don’t have the right tools. And unlike Bruce Wayne, you’re probably not a super-wealthy martial arts master. Regardless, you need to be prepared to accept and sustain client projects or employment.

CGMA Alum Natalia Kutsenko, Character Creation for Film/Cinematics

When it comes to hardware, software, desk setup, and access to challenging workshops and tutorials, costs can add up. Although this can be the source of some financial headaches, it’s worth budgeting and saving. You’re not spending useless money, you’re investing yourself!

The paybacks can come immediately, like new brushes, or over a long period of time, like learning new skills in workshops. Or even improved physical health from a proper chair! Igor still uses the first tablet that he bought using all of his savings over a decade ago.

You don’t need everything at once, but you don’t want to be stuck empty-handed when you finally get a big break. So crunch the numbers, check out payment plans, and prioritize a list of resources, because you’re worth the investment.

3. Put in the Time

Investing in yourself is more than just a financial commitment. The biggest asset you can give yourself is time. As someone looking for a big break, you need the space to learn, create, and network. This can be tricky if you already have a day job. With chores, exercise, family, and other responsibilities, time is actually a bigger commitment to art than many people realize.

But there are a lot of ways to create and maintain time for your art! Comic Artist Jason Brubaker suggests waking up early, ditching distractions, and commit to habits over plans. Scroll through our infographic to read more ideas from Jason.

Read “4 Proven Tips to Find Meaningful Time to Create” to learn more about making space in your schedule for art!

4. Share Your Work

When it comes to catching the elusive “big break,” there is an element of luck. Igor posted one of his first paintings on a site called mattepainting.org. This painting was put on the main page as a featured image, where a representative from Disney happened to see it. “They were searching on that website to find the paintings that would work for them. They got in touch with me…” Igor said. “I couldn’t believe that was happening. Disney was getting in touch with me.”

Igor was on the right platform at the right time, which some could attribute to luck. But if Igor never published his work, there’d be nothing for a Disney rep to stumble upon. So position yourself to accept luck. Enter contests hosted by your dream studios, monitor and interact with craft-related forums, and/or publish your work in online magazines. You never know who’s paying attention.

If you’re a freelancer who wants to get serious about your art career, read “6 Practical Business Lessons For Freelance Artists.”

CGMA Alum Ross Moyer, Composition for Concept Art and Illustration

As long as you’re putting in the work and preparation, be patient. Your big break is coming!

LEARN MORE

CGMA provides comprehensive instruction for Art, Games, and VFX industries in a variety of courses for a range of students, from 2D and 3D artists looking to supplement their college studies to industry professionals looking to stay up to date on emerging trends and techniques in the field.

RELATED LINKS

Check out Igor Staritsin‘s CGMA course Matte Painting and Concept Art for Production.

Read “4 Proven Tips to Find Meaningful Time to Create” to learn more about making space in your schedule for art!

If you’re a freelancer who wants to get serious about your art career, read “6 Practical Business Lessons For Freelance Artists.”