When artists and authors talk about a life's work it makes me think of some of the projects, and one in particular that I have and am working on.
I wanted to share these thoughts with other illustrators who are struggling, starting out, aspiring, and/or feeling like they are just treading water. One needs to keep on believing in oneself and the real talent they have been given to share.
Since I have been drawing and painting since childhood I have gathered a few projects that I have never discarded. One of these projects is at least 25 years old and began as watercolor and pen illustrations done at my kitchen table when the children were young. One of them was so young that any oil painting I was working on had to be HIGH up on my easel or there would be little finger marks all along the bottom edge of the wet paint.
What I have begun to call my "life's work" is being revived and is no longer watercolor paintings taped to the kitchen walls. I think I have to call it a "life's work" since I have been revising, submitting, and revising over the years. In between it has been submitted and seen by editors in person in NYC , New England and those that have reviewed it via the US postal system. However, good comments and constructive critique don't mean anything unless one is willing to act upon them and make changes which might even need to accommodate a new direction.
Yet, once again it has a new life and a slightly new direction as a combination of traditional and digital painting.
For me, I think this is the project I always go back to. No matter how many times I work on any other assignment, this one still captures my attention. And the process of creating is as much a reward as the hope of someday seeing the book published. I will not self publish. That is not an option for this piece.
One thing I have noticed in this long journey is that the work is actually getting better, more refined, and pleases me more with each renewal. Maybe it will find its way into a book, maybe not. Maybe it will just remain my therapy.
The story and illustrations have been reviewed with really good comments, but rejected several times. On the bright side, it has only been rejected those few times...and the positive comments that accompanied those rejections were filed along with my notes and have been acted upon. All that means is that I haven't given it enough time, or submitted it to enough houses. When I get to 24 rejections I will invoke the name of Dr. Suess and try again.
The motto of many illustrators and authors is "Never Give Up."
My motto is a bit different, and was given to me by my dad. "Take A Chance!"