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One Man’s Trash…

I’ve been dreading this.

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say about the whole portfolio review experience. The following anecdote probably sums it up pretty well.

When I got home from the conference on Sunday, my husband was helping me bring my things in from the car.

He: I wasn’t sure where you wanted your portfolio.
Me: In the trash.

Now that a few days have passed, I realize just how ridiculous that statement is. I mean, throwing out all that paper would be wasteful and environmentally irresponsible. I should probably just give it to one of my cat-owning friends to line their litter box with.

My portfolio review was with an AD from Abrams. Among his accomplishments are art directing the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and giving two workshops at the conference. He also finds bacon delicious.

Sorry, I felt the need for a non-sequitur there.

He was friendly. Seemed to like me. I mean, why wouldn’t he? Everyone loves a neurotic Jew. Well, except for maybe Mia Farrow. But, I digress.

From the beginning, I got the distinct feeling that he didn’t much care for my work. Not that I can blame him. I wasn’t happy with most of the pieces I included. But unexpected surgery (and a decided lack of talent) kind of put the kibosh on my plans to clean up my older work and create new, better work. So, he was mostly looking at (to put it nicely) junk.

Izzy the Dog did not go over well. He was lukewarm toward Everett the Owl. The only pieces he really seemed to care for were what he called the ‘funny stuff’. Also, known as the not-quite-kid-appropriate stuff and the there’s-really-no-use-for-this-other-than-to-put-it-on-my-blog stuff.  He also told me there’s no money in this business.

Sigh. The old ‘don’t quit your day job’ routine. Well, the joke’s on you, Mr. Art Director, I don’t have a day job!

There were a few positive nuggets amidst the rubble. He was impressed by my ability to give myself assignments…and complete them. He also said I had interesting stories (talk about a non-sequitur). And he complimented me on being able to (water)color inside the lines. Okay, even the positive stuff is starting to sound bad now, so I’m just going to stop.

Oddly, when it was all over, I didn’t feel so bad. I went to my next workshop, schmoozed with another artist, sat through the final keynote. All was right with the world. I left the conference, started driving toward home, let it all sink in, and…bawled like a baby.

And that’s all I have to say about that.


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Eyes on the Prize…or Something

So, you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been saying a whole lot lately. It has pretty much been all show and no tell around here. Sorry about that. I’ve really been focusing my energy on drawing every day and it hasn’t left much time for writing. I’m working to strike a balance though, so rest assured you’ll be getting regular doses of my insanity levity again soon.

I often find myself having trouble focusing my creative energy. My brain is always in about twenty different places at the same time and I have a really hard time accomplishing anything because I’m always thinking about what I want to accomplish next. I have actually seen this personality trait developing in Sir and it is kind of frightening.

In an attempt to rein myself in, I have taken some big steps toward getting focused and actually accomplishing my creative goals. First, I started working on getting my portfolio online. I have gotten hung up on a couple of steps in the process, but I am hoping to have it live in the next week or so. Second, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. This is something I had been debating about for a while. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was qualified to formally declare myself an illustrator. Then I discovered that my region’s conference is next month in Gettysburg (One of my absolute favorite places, I often go there when I’m feeling distressed and, for some reason, it calms me and helps me get centered again.). I took this as a sign that I should just bite the bullet and do it. So, I did.

As much as I am looking forward to the conference, it also has me feeling a bit frantic. I opted to have my portfolio reviewed and that means, well, I need a freaking portfolio!

Enter the near-constant sketching and stressing.

I am currently working on some character illustrations while trying not to get too distracted by all of my other interests, ideas, and responsibilities. Wish me luck!

I will be sharing some of what I am working on soon. Please feel free to offer any thoughts, critiques, etc. Currently, Sir is my only source of feedback and, while he is my target market, it would probably be beneficial to hear from people who can offer a little more than ‘Those are owls. Those owls are blue.’ Heh.

photo : card-carrying member by yours truly


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