1. This is great! The sensible choices don’t often lead to a happy work life but they do give you skills that help later. I too loved volcanos, ended up in management and then discovered my happy skill was illustrating (why didn’t I notice?) It’s so liberating and inspiring to hear success stories!

  2. Very inspiring Alex! Goes to show you that it takes more than a college education to find success πŸ™‚

  3. Loved this one, Alex! For myself, it was: “I chose engineering because it seemed more sensible” and here I am, a designer after all πŸ™‚ Thanks for this.

  4. Nicely described and illustrated – following your passion, will shine through in the work you do and maybe even land you a job at google…

  5. woah, i know i’m not exactly an optimist person, but when i read these kind of stories i feel a bit of a smile inside. my sincerest congratulation alex

  6. Congratulations Alex, you are an example!
    I’m on the road of building my own brand “Lilipops” and has not been easy, stories like yours I love them !! Good luck and thanks for sharing your adventure πŸ™‚
    I send you a from Colombia South America. Do you have a fanpage on Facebook about your job? I would be a fan of it. My page is / heylilipops

  7. This is a very awesomely inspiring story. What site were you on when you first started illustrating? I really like your story. Definitely sharing this. Your awesome!

  8. Interesting story, Alex. I sure could use more people like you around me right now, what with all the dilemmas I’m having about sustaining my life and keeping my creativity alive.

  9. Brilliant blog! Thanks so much for writing this. As I fellow creative and freelancer deciding on a new career path, this has inspired me! Love your illustrations too!

  10. Though a lot has been said, the beauty and inspiration of your story and work can’t be over stressed, many thanks!

  11. Thanks for sharing your amazing story Alex πŸ™‚
    I think we all dream of that kind of break but I guess the thing is you kept plugging away, making a name for yourself, it wasn’t just chance, you made your own luck by preparing to succeed πŸ˜‰

  12. Hi Alex, thanks very much for this post – I’m really glad to have found you. I have often admired your work on Google, but have been continually frustrated by Google’s lack of providing a credit for the artist/s who provide them with such outstanding work. Do you have any thoughts on this? Certainly for work in print illustrators are always given credit for their work, and it seems rather unfair for Google to not do the same and display a clear credit line or link for you. But anyway, it really is good to have finally discovered who owns the talent behind this beautiful work – sincere congratulations. Tim

    • Thank you for your concern, Tim. I couldn’t comment, but this will be dealt with in the agreement artists have with the company. Good point and thank you!

  13. love this story! I went through a similar meandering experience and finally affirmed that I couldn’t escape my true nature, no matter how badly I wanted to have security instead. Once I made that affirmation, things began to magically fall into place. Now, for a living, I interview other creative people with similar stories. The best interviews are with people in their 70s and 80s who have spent a lifetime perfecting a craft. You can almost feel the deep happiness radiating out of them. As Joseph Campbell said, follow your bliss. It’s really that simple, as scary as it is to take a step into the dark unknown. Kudos!

    • Thanks Amy! Interesting about the affirmation. It shows that by making a firm decision on something, especially when it answers to your true ‘nature’ you can really move forward and do well. Great to hear about the happiness in those that follow their craft. Excellent! Thank you.

  14. I think you should have used the word Credentials instead of Qualifications in the title. Having sold many illustrations and developing a style that is unique is the hardest part. You’re clearly qualified, just not formally schooled. That being said, capitalizing the skill on social media is a nifty trick most creatives want and need to learn more about. Thanks for learning what works and sharing what you know now.

    • Thanks Jeff. That’s a good point and I agree, though the post title has a certain ring to it, and I’ll leave it for now. All the best! Alex

      • Will do. Just wish you didn’t have to pay for video tutorials on some of these tutorial websites that would be a plus. Is there any video tutorials on how you did the illustration with monkeys? It would probably help me out a lot.

  15. Great post, Alex. Inspirational, and real world proven. Nice! ALso, love the illustrative stuff sprinkled the– you’ve got a great style, and neat to see the stuff front and center.
    Cheers, M.

  16. An inspirational article. Great style! Next stop youtube and adobe illustrator :). Best of luck with everything Alex.

    • Hi Rika,

      I went to see them in Japan, and I think first got excited about them in a BBC documentary about them πŸ™‚

  17. You are so cool. I love your blog. Thanks for being awesome and sharing your awesomeness with us.

  18. Thanks for making those articles. its so easy to read with the illustrations and so encourage! πŸ˜€

  19. Really interesting read! I had experienced a similar situation, although mine didn’t end with a job offer from Google. I wasn’t able to find the style that will make me stand out so instead I decided to combine the illustration skill, the marketing skill, and my web development skill I got during that period and created my first startup ( and sold it later on.

    “Be aware of early interests and talents” is the best advice you could get as a youngster. Once you know, every decision you make after that will get you closer to your dreams than not knowing what you love.

    Love your illustration by the way. πŸ™‚

    • Great comment Pete, thanks! Great story too – the startup you built looks excellent. I’d love to hear more about it and your experience with setting it up and selling it.

      Thank you dude!

  20. Alex, I love you! Lol. Thanks a lot for sharing your journey! I’m a rising college senior and I’ve been contemplating whether I should take the mass industrialized route to “success” and go straight to graduate school or take some time to explore the dormant seeds of talents and interests that are waiting to germinate within me. This inspiration is the water to my garden, right now.

  21. Wow, I really needed this. I’m 14 and I want to pursue art so badly, but no one I know believes it. I love learning and all, but NOTHING gets me as interested as art. Nothing. I can draw for hours, and I do, save for the 30 maybe 40 minutes arguing with my parents about it. I know I ‘have’ to do good in school, and to be honest, I know I can. But I want nothing else but art. I don’t want to be rich and go to an Ivy like every else I know does, I just want to afford to keep drawing.

    Why does life make it so hard? Why can’t I say I want to be an artist and not get the dirty looks my friends and parents give me? They say, be anything!, but when I picked art their opinion totally changed.

    Anyways, I saw the last comments were from two years ago, so chances are you’ll never see this Alex… but thank you, I needed this badly.

    • Angelica – seriously – do what you are passionate about. Absolutely do not give into the comments and suggestions of others, even family. Do what makes you come alive. Do email me if you have any questions. Alex

  22. Dear Alex,
    This is really inspiring..I just got out of my drawing II class where we were having a critique. Im usually proud after a critique but this time I wasn’t. I went home feeling like my heart wasn’t in art anymore or maybe just that style. I want to be an illustrator. So I looked up how and came across this article. My heart is in my cartoonish style with crazy hair not this realist charcoal powdered drawing business. I just want to take this moment to thank you for cheering me up. 1) because your cat 2) because sushi 3) because of those silly pink monkey people whom I adore and 4) because you helped me realize that instead of me making art to please people in school, I should adapt my style to the requirements of the project. Anywhoo, thank you
    Signed, Eva V.

  23. Great story, sound like a dream to me. I’m so glad you made it. I think you have more quality in your life because you have more freedom than before. Now you have much more choices and more time because of you passive income. Who doesn’t want that?

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