Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Post-College Career

-By Donato

Raunok Fishing   Donato Giancola   1992  Oil on Panel   book cover sample

I had a long, lengthy essay for all you college grads coming out of school this May, but then it was erased by an errant autosave.  I take this as a sign, and I am thankful I am not a digital artist!

Basically, productivity was the key to my early success 25 years ago when I graduated from Syracuse University.  Within a week after graduation my entire portfolio was nearly worthless as a marketing tool.  The entire portfolio.  Seriously.  I had to rebuild it all.

(Here is a MuddyColors post which has many samples from that college portfolio : )

A meeting in mid-May with an artist representative, Sal Barracca, opened the door for my first professional venture as an artist.  But in order to begin this new venture, I had to create samples for the opportunity to work as a book cover artist.  I needed to display specific problem solving abilities as well as produce a very tight grouping of quality and style for Sal in order to secure commissions. I began rebuilding in late May.

Month after month found me at Sal's office, turning in a new painting, and sharing sketches for the next concept.

Alien World   preliminary drawing   Donato Giancola   1992  graphite on paper, book cover sample
June, July, August, October, November, December.  You could set the calendar by by my timely arrivals into Sal's office.
(September was missed for I had a paint ball shot into my right eye, permanently destroying the macular region that allows you to see detail, and I was moving to New York City as well! But that is another story.)

By the time late December rolled around, I had six new samples to show.  That was enough for Sal to land my first commissions.  My professional career had begun.

Words of advice for all you new graduates.  Do not rest.  Do not 'take some time off' to recharge.  Your career begins now, today, and every day.  Think about the artist you would like to be, and begin making and implementing decisions that will get you closer to that dream.  Feed the tired passion of your desires, for if you cannot find a way to rejuvenate the fire now, you will likely not be able to keep it going five years from now when you are deep into commissions which are not exactly what you wanted, but are a part of building a career as a professional.

Those who will have a successful career in the arts are those artists who create art, drink art, and dream about art.  Art is difficult and trying, but also heartfelt and deeply gratifying.  Begin your journey today.

Below are a few of the drawings and cover samples created over the summer months and into that Fall 25 years ago when I needed to fuel the fire...

Alien World   Donato Giancola   1992  Oil on Panel   book cover sample

Cityscape   Donato Giancola   1992  Oil on Panel   book cover sample
Gwindor at Angband  preliminary drawing   Donato Giancola   1992  graphite on paper, book cover sample
Gwindor at Angband   Donato Giancola   1992  Oil on Panel   book cover sample

Omega Corps   preliminary drawing   Donato Giancola   1992  graphite on paper, book cover sample
Omega Corps   Donato Giancola   1992  Oil on Panel   book cover sample

Pen and the Sword   Donato Giancola   1992  Oil on Panel   book cover sample


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Donato!

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  2. Great post Donato, inspiring as always. Arnie's post on you a couple days ago was spot on and well deserved. Cheers!

  3. I love seeing these early pieces. It reinforces in me the desire to grow.

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