Art success do’s and don’ts: Steve Light

Steve Light, Illustrator/Author Storyteller

Don’t give up and certainly don’t give up too early. I’ve seen better artists than me give up on their art within a year of graduating. That’s too early! Be very tenacious and be very determined and you will succeed. This has paid off for me. I have some real momentum now. I enjoy telling stories and there’s a lot of opportunity out there. My career and work just keeps getting better. I feel really blessed. –Steve Light

What made the most difference in your career and what do you advise newcomers?

When I just started doing the work for me. Doing the work that I love, knowing someone else will love it also. I stopped chasing work and started producing work I love and then showing it to people.

Never, ever, ever, ever give up. Do what you love and do not listen to the naysayers.

 Do it because it is your passion.
 Don’t do it because you want to get rich over night.

 Do be kind to everyone you meet.
 Don’t underestimate anyone.

Do surround yourself with people that can help you.
Don’t stay around anyone that is negative or brings you down or does not share your passion or vision.

Do work hard—draw EVERY DAY!
Don’t get lazy or think it will be handed to you.

Do the art, if you are good at the business then do the business part—if you are not good at the business part, then let someone else do it for you.
Don’t spend all your time promoting or running the business part—your time should be spent doing the art!

I think Facebook, Twitter, a blog and a website are invaluable tools. A hand written note is also very powerful. Special interest forums can really help spread the word.

Steve Light grew up in an enchanted place known as New Jersey. He went on to study Illustration at Pratt Institute, he also studied with Dave Passalacqua. Upon graduating he did some corporate illustrations for companies such as: AT&T, Sony Films, and the New York Times Book Review. Steve Light then went on to design buttons that were acquired by the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum.

He has published 12 children’s books by Abrams, Candlewick Press and Chronicle Books. Steve’s books include: I am Happy, Puss in Boots, The Shoemaker Extraordinaire, Uncle Sam, Trucks Go, Trains Go and The Christmas Giant. As well as 2 Hello Kitty books that he engineered. “Zephyr Takes Flight” will be out in October as well as Diggers Go soon after. Steve Light has also had his Steve Light Storyboxes produced by Guidecraft. Teachers, Parents and Children can use the props in a storybox to tell a story. Steve loves to draw and sharing his art and stories with children.


Create a meaningful identity in the arts – here’s the challenge

We’re experiencing a massive shift in our thinking about ourselves and our work identity. Today, the lines between our person-hood and our business life are increasingly blurred. Not only do we bring our work home, out to dinner and with us, on vacation; but as we’ve moved from a desktop to laptop to iPhone, our work pervades virtually every aspect of our lives. Further, with the advent of social media, our acquaintances may become followers, colleagues, and friends. So, our presence in individual communities and in the vast public square has become ubiquitous. How can we ensure that we’re communicating our intent effectively to ensure authenticity and that we’re bringing the kinds of people and opportunities that we want to find into our sphere?