First, if you are going into the proffesional business, Blender is minimal, but excellent. There are a lot of good books out there. Just go to a large bookstore and look under computers. Some even have a graphics section. Good luck
Blender does not have all of the FX tools of other 3d apps. But as a 3d artist you art not required to use certain 3d FX tools to get work done.
If you want to pump out great pro 3d animations and illustrations Blender is perfect. If you want to make Hollywood feature film 3d FX then Blender may not be for you. And then again if an artist is creative enough, anything is possible.
Anyway if you want to learn how to work like a 3d pro hang with the pros over at CGtalk.com. If you want to use Blender to create your pro 3d images hang with the Blender pros here at elysiun.com.
One of the best books to use to develop a pro 3d style in Blender is the ageless 3d book, " Digital Lighting And Rendering" by Jeremy Birn.
Jeremy Birn is a Hollywood pro who just happens to be a CGtalk member.
Also check out DVgarage.com for help on getting your 3d details down in a pro style.
This should get you started. Oh and even though this one may be obvious, get the new Blender Manual.
Well most companies won’t hire you unless you have the skills to work with their production team. Start to get your skills down now. Pay your dues first.
I would suggest doing small projects that allow you to use a wide range of 3d software functions. Use simple objects and focus on your lighting, texturing, composition and subject matter. Work with precision. Learn to perfectly repeat your design style with precision. Know that if someone requests your work you can deliver.
Your subject matter is more important if you want to attract clients on your own. Your 3d designs, even abstract or unusual art concepts will get you hired by some companies who are hunting for skilled 3d talent alone. This means that robots, dragons and hobbit art subjects are out for most mature and very profitable standard business markets.
You don’t have to produce photographic renders, just high quality renders of objects that will help to compliment advertisements or product presentations. This can be classic designs to the unusual. But it still has to portray a message that sells to the intended audience.
If you want to work as a commercial artist be practical and know your markets public business image profile and marketing communication strategies.
The rest is all about getting down the right Blender production techniques to deliver your goods to the clients.
Your Blender 3d art will be one element in the visual marketing communication game. If used right it will give you some major leverage as a 3d CG graphic artist.
Start small but brand build well.
And you thought that art just looked cool? It also talks or shouts. Hehehe.
Self taught training really works when you keep things practical. Look around you where you live. What’s going on or not going on? Start something. Only learn what you need to know to get the job done. Learn where the job is located at or create one based someone else’s desire to use CG design in their company or organization. Or influence them with your 3d ways of presentation.
Only model or render art project images that have direct relevance to some useful application. This may sound boring but you can make a stem bolt on some pavement sell a story if you are creative enough. You don’t need fancy 3d characters or car renders to stand out as a great 3d artist.
Hey use objects and subjects that are overlooked or out of date to portray your image style. You don’t have to recreate the art wheel, just dress it up in your own style. 8)