When I was 12 I asked my parents if I could buy some Dungeons and Dragons manuals. Yes, oh yes, I am a real gamer. Give me graph paper, pencils, some 20 sided dice and I will take you on a magical adventure through my imagination. After my parents were convinced that I wouldn’t become a Satan-worshiping, maladjusted outsider, I was able to go buy my original handbooks. I went with my dad to the bookstore to specialized in all manner of geekdom and I grabbed my three Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks and within the hour, I back at home reading the Players Guide and listening to my Tool album. To a 12 year old geek, this was nirvana.
I loved the artwork in the books, the Monster Manual is why I actually became a creative. I would constantly draw monsters, spaceships, submarines, warriors and castles. The artwork was cool, sometimes a lot cartoonish, but overall pretty sweet. After a couple of years of slowly collecting different manuals and books, I came across the Dark Sun campaign setting. My heart skipped a beat.
I discovered Brom.
Gerald Brom, a master of the grotesque. Brom has been drawing the macabre and fantastic since he was old enough to hold a crayon. Being an army brat, he travelled a great deal at a young age, exposing him to all sorts of inspiration and ideas. He worked tirelessly to put his vision to paper. He attended Art Institute of Atlanta to learn how to polish his work and learn the basics of presenting his artwork. He graduated with a degree in Commercial Art and landed two major clients from the onset, IBM and Coca Cola. After toiling around in the commercial art world for several years, the opportunity to follow his passion came to him the form of a job opportunity with TSR, Tactical Strategies and Research. The publishers of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. His first assignment was to work on the Dark Sun campaign setting, where he took full visual creative control on, and the writers based the world around his illustrations.
After years of working as a freelancer and working on various projects such as Magic, The Gathering, Dark Ages, Doom and others, the creative urge branched out in other ways. He began to write, and he debuted with “The Plucker” with all new original art.
His aesthetic is dark, his outlook is from a DIY, punk rock ethos and he is genuinely a very happy guy. Beyond falling in love with his work, I am very fond of his outlook and methodology. Too many people feel torn. They want to do what they are passionate about, but often the old trite line of “You can’t make any money do that” immediately comes into play. Brom has made a career illustrating the dark and disturbing creatures he sees in his head. I can’t say from personal knowledge, but the man does alright for himself.
This actually brought me to an quote from Alan Watts about following your desire. I came across this quote from one of my favorite sites, Zen Pencils. Gavin Aung Than was in a similar situation to Brom. After working for years as a graphic designer in the corporate, he left and pursued his own passions, cartoons. In early 2012, he started Zen Pencils and has become a rising star online. What he creates isn’t those old black framed motivational posters that are one word monographs with an eagle or mountain behind it, no way. His work beautifully illustrates each quote to have a lasting effect on you. His work is very popular on Imgur and Society6.
So it comes down to passion. Do the work you love, and do it now. Don’t wait to figure out who you are before hand, discover it along the way.
As for me? I will working away late into the night on my own neat stuff. Thanks to these guys for reaffirming my own passion.