‘Gum Leaves’ (2015) by Tracy Rockwell

'Sunset At Soldiers Point' (2010) by Tracy Rockwell

Developing A Hobby

Photography has been a long-time hobby of mine, and over many years I’ve developed a substantial image archive of not only family and friends, but a great deal of location, travel, sporting and theme shots. At various life stages, I’d often thought of turning this hobby into something more professional… but I didn’t know how? Then I started experimenting with the new technologies available for digital art and was personally quite surprised at some of the results I was able to achieve.

During this developmental stage, I occasionally showed my images to family and friends, who were always complimentary… but like many of us, to be spending your workday doing a thing you love remained just a dream.

Attending one particular gallery opening I finally came to the realisation… what if I could combine my photography hobby and turn it into an income? I began speaking to artists and gallery owners in the art world about how they turned professional, and showed them images of my art on my phone. This began conversations about the paths they took, the sacrifices they had to make?

At the same time, I searched for further information that related directly to digital art. While I had gained some tips from fellow hobbyists, I was really looking to take the next step and turn my passion into a career. Formal training wasn’t an option for me, but younger people might use this stage to develop their hobby technically. Searching online was extremely productive and I found plenty of very helpful articles, but others might connect to experts in their local area, or TAFE Colleges are also another great option if you’re looking to develop extra training.

The game changer was when I consciously dedicated more time to my art. I found the most important attribute was to be persistent. I made a list of all the various aspects I’d like to improve and put together a business model. Dedicating extra time each week in developing my work and sticking to my schedule was critical.

One last necessary point is to remain flexible. Ideas don’t always go as planned, so be prepared for some setbacks. The important thing is that you remain focused on the ultimate goal of turning your hobby into your career. When you’re confronted with certain challenges, tackle them head on, one by one as rationally as possible, then re-assess and see whether you can turn the negatives into positives.

As I embarked on the journey to become a digital artist I was never afraid of starting out small, and I began implementing much of what I’ve listed above while still working. I researched what I didn’t know, which included the marketplace for art and then started taking steps to position myself for future opportunities.

This image was snapped at sunset from a restaurant at Port Stephens … let me know what you like about it? Read how I made the decision to go public in my next post.

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