Tiny heroes in the making

"Not having a job gave me quite a bit of hunger," he said. "I just pushed my way into the industry."

Harding did some editorial illustration, such as creating graphics for publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, but it did not truly satisfy his interests.

"It was OK, but it wasn't what I thought it would be," he said.

Instead, the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake graduate moved back home where, with the help of the Internet and other sculptors, he gradually taught himself the art of sculpting.

He returned to his love of toys and comic books, two things that he has never stopped enjoying, and turned his personal passions into a paying career.

He has since returned to illustration, notably being behind the cover art of book six in the Darren Shan book series The Demonata, which has since appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List. He is set to illustrate through book 10.

He often appears to tell crowds what he does for a living and what it takes to make it in the competitive and specialized field. Recently, he appeared at a career night for the Capital Area Art Supervisors.

"It takes time," Harding said of his trade. "I basically have to tell parents that you can make money being an artist, which they don't usually know their kids can. There seems to be as much confusion as interest."

Samples of Harding's work can be seen on his Web site at www.hardingdesigns.com.""

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