The Best Advice I Ever Got

I was thinking recently about the best piece of professional advice I have ever received. I thought I’d share it with all of you out there in the world and beyond (assuming a Mars One colonist reads this within 60 days of landing).

The advice was given to me by Mike Grell. For those who aren’t familiar with Mr. Grell, he is a comic book artist most best known DC Comics’ Warlord, the creator-owned John Sable Freelance, and the famous “The Longbow Hunters” storyline about Green Arrow. You can read all about him here.

At met him at Mid-Ohio Con about five or six years back. He was working on a pencil commission of the Marvel character Black Widow while having a lively conversation with a woman in front of him. I watched in awe as there he was, barely even looking at the page, and rendering this gorgeous image beyond my wildest skill set.

When he was free to talk, I nodded to the drawing, and told him, “I don’t think I could ever do that no matter how hard I worked.”

“You wanna know the secret to doing this?” he asked me, learning forward someone conspiratorially. “What you do is this. Draw for eight hours a day, every day, for ten years straight.”

It made a big impression on me. For me, it put into one simple phrase the need for hard work in a better way than I had ever heard before. Deceptively simple, perhaps, but essentially.

The fact is this. No matter what opportunities natural talent or pure luck throw in your direction, they will do you no good without that work.

Keith Cunningham
Keith is a freelance writer at Black Powder Design and a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in animation. Keith hosts a podcast on the Deliberate Noise Network titled The Keith Show Show starring Keith. He is also the illustrator and writer of his own comic series called Stale Popcorn.