William Hogarth at 16 apprenticed to a London engraver, who taught him to design business cards and invitations. Whenever he had time off, Hogarth would amuse himself by wandering the nearby streets and sketching the odd characters he saw there. Within seven years, he was able to open his own business, engraving coats of arms, advertising handbills, and plates for booksellers.
Beatrix Potter at 14 began to keep a diary in which she wrote short stories, recorded impressions, and sketched pictures of her favorite pets, including rabbits, mice, frogs, lizards, snakes and bats. Although she never attended school, she learned to develop her skills in observation and draftsmanship from a private art teacher, Miss Cameron.
Alfred Hitchcock at 15 enrolled in engineering school, but quit when his father suddenly died to take a job at a company that manufactured electric cables. Hitchcock worked in the advertising department there, writing copy and designing ads, all the while moonlighting as a title-card designer for the local silent-film studios. Within six years, he landed a full-time job with one of them.
Woody Allen at 16 held an after-school job with a New York ad agency. Every weekday, he would ride the subway into Manhattan from his high school in Brooklyn, all the while scribbling jokes onto pieces of paper. The agency's executives would place the jokes in the newspapers, attributing them to their clients. Woody's daily output of 50 jokes quickly landed him his first job as a comedy writer, for the TV personality Herb Shriner.