30 Lessons Learned, #6: Your Experience Will Serve You

For most of my life, I have wanted to write and illustrate books. I've tried on and off over the years to do so. It is only recently that I'm beginning to find inspiration and a voice that feels authentic. I'm realizing though, that all of my various pursuits up to this point are informing what I do now. This is amazing to me because when I wasn't illustrating or writing, I always felt so far away from it. My jobs and pursuits felt completely unrelated. But when I look at my current work, I see all of those years woven in. For example:
1. I worked as an art director for years. Most of that time was spent designing multi-page publications. Some were magazines but most were (gulp) catalogs. I realize now that this was my bootcamp for understanding pacing and page design.
2. I worked in a calligraphy studio. This was my bootcamp for lettering and drawing with nibs. I am more comfortable with a dip pen and india ink than a marker.
3. I've spent a lot of training time on a bike. I've gotten to know Northern California from the seat of a bike. The terrain and early morning scenery live in my brain. I find that I gravitate toward those colors and landscapes frequently in my images.

I suppose my point is that all life experience gives us resources from which to draw. And when the time is right, those experiences can come together in unexpected and wonderful ways. I'd love to know if you agree. :)