I’ve been struggling the past few years, and particularly the last nine months or so, as I’ve been going through a pretty intensive process of business analysis.
The problem is that I’ve built two, full-time businesses alongside each other, by mistake – children’s author and illustrator (that’s actually two jobs already) and YouTube Drawing Instructor. Obviously I only really have time for one of these jobs.
I contemplated giving one or other up for good, but I’m vocationally drawn to both, which is why I’m in this position in the first place!
I love to create illustrated children’s books. I also love to teach drawing and have found a whole new demographic in, how shall I put this, more mature students.
My Problem is the term Teacher. I hold that word and position, unlike many do these days, in some reverence. I feel that a teacher has a responsibility to their students beyond just showing and telling. Apart from setting work, marking it and feeding back, there is the element of pastoral care too. With 300,000 subscribers on YouTube I can’t do that!
If I look after my students as best I can, that leaves no time for creating and very little income. It just doesn’t work.
So I enrolled on a business course and have learned a huge amount about business. I’ve accepted that I am a business and need to be business-like to earn enough to achieve my goals, and have learned a huge amount about myself and what those goals are in the process.
My aim is to be a successful self-published picture book author and to continue teaching drawing skills. To do this, I’ve committed myself to building a membership on Patreon.com. I’ve arrived at a formula of words that satisfies me:
By sharing my practice and process as an independent creator of picture books, I help my patrons/members/students/followers to learn to draw and illustrate, then to design and ultimately publish their own picturebooks.
But that doesn’t quite work! It’s so much easier to say:
I teach drawing, illustration, design and picture book publishing skills.
It all comes down to this word, Teacher. Am I being too hard on myself? Can I call myself a drawing teacher without setting homework, marking it and reflecting back to students. Are there levels of responsibility available to a teacher – especially a teacher of adults, who are working at their own pace.
Hang on… in writing this, I think I may have got it!
I create drawing, illustration and self-publishing tutorials by sharing my practice and process and life as a children’s author and illustrator.
Wow! That is pretty clear and simple. I cannot tell you how many times I have written and re-written a pitch to clarify to my self who I am and what I do.
I was going to ask advice of those reading this post, but I think I may have found the answer! I’d still be interested in knowing what you think.