06-03-2012, 07:53 AM
Being a professional is just what it means. Working, as a professional on a given trade.
It doesn't matter how good you are, all that matters is your ability to sell your products. Obviously the better you are, the better chances you have to get work to do.
Then there is also the subject of location and with it, necessity. For instance here in Portugal there is not much need for mattepainting, thus while I am a Matte professional, I am also many other things otherwise I would work once each 10 years.
I see you are still young. So my advice to you is to try to learn everything you can. People have a tendency to always look into the future, looking for new softwares and what abilities they can do, but don't disregard the past! Learn from the guys that started this thing called Mattepainting.
More importantly don't stick to the technicality of this trade. Go to museums, learn zoology, anthropology, architecture, meteorology and so on... all these areas will broaden your horizons and help you become a better painter, after all... your goal is to be a high level realist painter, that is a mattepainter.
I will give you a quick example...
You are painting an African plain. They tell you the scene is summer time. So you make a beautiful blue sky with a shinning and radiant sun.
Africa is southern Hemisphere so, summer time is hot and rainy. Ever heard of summer monsoons? and African thunderstorms?
The ground gets really hot from the sun, huge clouds form ( called cumulonimbus ) and you get thunderstorms.
Each and every location in the World has a specific environment. I can tell you in Portugal in the summer winds are typically NorthWestern. While when it rains they are southern.
Sorry for all these out of the subject thingies.