The Importance of Showing Up

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of childhood memory sketch work, as inspired by the fabulous Hazel Mitchell and making quite a bit of headway in getting in touch the simple joys, all-encompassing fears, and the deep sadness of being a child, which is so important in making picture book art. I’ve been sharing them on Facebook and Twitter and they’re also now in the Gallery section here. The feedback I’ve gotten through FB and Twitter has been so nice and so appreciated!

But yesterday, I was shocked to have my name suggested to an art director at a rather large publisher, who requested an illustrator that could draw tween girls really well! My being suggested was as a direct result of my sharing those sketches! I was away from home and my computer when all of this happened, so I was really glad I’d put up at least a very basic website here! When the Tweet mentions rolled in, I immediately made sure my website link was correct. Today, said art director and the editor is looking over the web pages of the names that were suggested to him yesterday.

Now, while it is true that I don’t have a complete portfolio to show here right now (I’m working on it), it’s important to note three things I did, just by showing up, that are just as important as the portfolio.

1. Sharing your work. I don’t mean handing it out for anyone to use. No. What I mean by this is, in terms of Twitter, find your tribe and be friendly, use the right hash tags (in this case #kidlitart), and don’t be afraid to say, “Hey! Look what I drew today!” Be a neat person, do neat things, and share. It’s just like kindergarten. (I almost typed kinderfarten! Great! I’ll be thinking about that all day!)

2. A basic website is usually better than none at all! I’m not going to get the job. Not without the portfolio. I know this and I’m ok with it. BUT! Someone very talented in her own right, Diandra Mae , thought enough of me to toss my name into the hat. Thank you, D! Now imagine if I hadn’t had ANY sort of a website ready! Not even some morsel to create an interest, to keep me on the radar! A few weeks ago, I set about getting some things organized here, including the addition of the Flickr Stream, and my About and Contact page. Man, was I relieved to know that I had already done that! Now, at the very least, the AD will see that I can definitely draw, (which he stated in a Twitter Talk was the most important thing he looks for in a new illustrator.), know a little bit about me (a more personal connection), and how to get in contact with me. So don’t let the lack of a complete portfolio slow you down. Start, or work on your web page.

3. Butt in Studio Chair. With all of the distractions we have around us these days, especially technological ones, this is a biggie. I’ve learned a few things about myself that are making this last one easier. It looks like this.

Every day: Get up, feed the cats, eat a simple breakfast, write your morning pages, stop looking at FB on your phone AGAIN, get a shower, no PJs, and do NOT sit in the black leather easy-chair by the front window, you know the one that lets in the sweet smell of orange blossoms, attracts the lap cat beasts, and gets nice and warm from the sun, and…!

Put more succinctly: Have a routine, identify pitfalls, and keep the pitfalls OUT of your routine.

Happy Showing Up, everyone!

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