"I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours" -Henry David Thoreau

Ken the Illustrator

Ken Fallin is a famous professional illustrator. His celebrity portraits and caricatures have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, the LA Times, Washington Post, etc. Yet it was his success story and how he discovered illustrating which I found so compelling.

He didn’t even begin his "illustrating career” until he was in his mid-30s. For years he pursued acting, yet to no avail. People asked him to do doodles on the side, which began to pull in more money than his acting.

Eventually, this led to his big break—doing posters for Forbidden Broadway, a satirical revue.

Of his career, he said:

“It got to a point where I didn’t think anything was ever going to happen, and I was very discouraged. But then things just started happening and it was great. I think you just sort of have to be ready. If you believe in yourself—and I admit there were periods when I didn’t—but if you can hold on and have somebody else tell you they believe in you…that helps too.”

According to Ken, his father never understood what he was doing—he just didn’t see the logic or future in it. “He couldn’t believe people would pay you to draw.” But right before he died, he told Ken he was proud of him, and that made it all right.

“But for years he thought I was a bum.”

               © 2016 Harris Newman - Portland, OR