Dream job, or ego boost?

I've had this conversation with a couple of people in the last week, so I figured it might be a good blog topic :)

When I was in art school, my dream job was to be a visual development artist at Dreamworks...I saw the work of people like Mike Yamada and Nathan Fowkes and Nico Marlet and I was in love with it all....and HOW COOL would it be to work on something like "How to Train Your Dragon"!  OMG, that would be FANTASTIC.

Here's the thing though - When I think visually, I think in realism.  The cartoony-est I get is something like "Legend of Korra".  I'm not great at pushing shapes and ideas past the point of what could happen in the "real world"...and a visdev artist needs to be able to take things FAR past that, so it can be reined in and still be energetic.  

It wouldn't have been my dream job, it would have been a nightmare.  Getting that job would be a hell of an ego boost - validation that I was the best of the best, and that my art had true worth....but I wouldn't have been happy or good at doing it.  The better I get, the more my work naturally seems to be growing towards live action film, AAA video games, and other, more grounded properties.

Think about why you think a job would be your "dream job."  Is it because you love the stuff that company makes, or because you think it would be a good fit?  Ask yourself, was I born to work on this?  If the team sucked, the deadlines were awful and you got yelled at every day, would you still wake up in the morning excited to go to work?  If you were independently wealthy, would you still draw the content and style of the job?  If you answered 'yes' to all of those things, it might be your dream job.

Man, it would be great to have companies like Blizzard, ILM, Pixar and Dreamworks on your resume.  It would be SO FREAKING COOL to see your name next to your heroes on a movie credits....but you know what would be cooler?  To be paid to draw and paint the kinds of things you love in the style you feel comfortable with, with a team that is supportive and fun to hang out with....those things should transcend the name or property you are working on.  I'm always really leery of dream jobs, because to me, they set you up for disappointment when your style doesn't match, or they force you to take on a style that isn't your own.  The world doesn't need another Blizzard artist.  The world needs you to give us something that is uniquely you - and if that's a good fit for Blizzard, then awesome...but if it's not, that's even better!  

In closing - Try, try, try to align your dreams with things that will make you happy on a day-to-day basis, not on name recognition.  If you're going to get paid to make art, get paid to make art you love to make as much as you love to look at.

Thanks for reading!