Life Advice



Ask Amy: A reader offers a delightful ‘update’

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: I appreciate it when people give me “updates” on previously published advice.

This update follows the Q&A, which was originally published in 2016.

Dear Amy: I’m hoping for a career in art, specifically as an illustrator.

Three years ago I graduated with an art degree and have been working to make that happen, doing a lot of research, building a portfolio and exploring my options.

I work part time to keep myself fed, but otherwise I’m always drawing, painting and networking.

From what I’ve learned, it takes years before most artists can quit their day jobs. I’m prepared for this; I’m in no way lazy, but I know it will take me a long time. I keep my head down and keep trying.


My family and friends are supportive, which is wonderful, but there is a big problem. They don’t understand why it is taking me so long. So they offer art advice, although they are not artists: Advice on what to paint, how much to sell it for, whom to work for and so on.

Sometimes the advice is ridiculous, if not insulting: “Just go work for Disney,” or “Nobody wants to buy those kinds of paintings. Paint portraits; those will sell.” Or, “Do it for the exposure if you have to.”

They don’t trust that I know what I’m doing, and they don’t recognize how hard I’m working. It gets to the point where I don't want to talk about my art at all. I want to enjoy my family get-togethers again.

How can I let on (politely) that I’m not interested in their bombardment of ill-informed advice?


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