When I was a kid, I drew lots of cartoon characters, but when I grew older, my passion for drawing all the time kind of decreased. I’m not sure why, maybe I thought I was good enough and didn’t have to practice as much anymore.
This kind of continued into college and art school. After Berkeley, I went to the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I wasn’t that great of a student, somehow I didn’t take it very seriously, maybe because I thought I was good enough, and maybe partly because I grew up comfortably, and didn’t realize how hard it is to make a living in the real world.
Walt Disney once said “I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you’re young. I learned a lot out of that”. Actually, I personally never had a hard failure, I just had a lot of small failures that I think caused me to sort of drift slowly in the beginning. So I didn’t really ‘wake up’ til later.
When George Lucas was in high school, he was in a serious car accident. The accident was so serious, that he should have died, but he didn’t. That experience made him serious about what he wanted to do in life. So when he was still young (early 30s), he created Star Wars.
I actually think that my comfortable life growing up caused me to not take my career seriously. I was kind of lazy, and when I was young, I just wanted to have fun, so it took me longer to figure things out. I thought my work was good enough, but I found out when I entered the cold, cruel world that it wasn’t good enough. I had to open my eyes to that fact before I could improve my work.