Sometimes I like to think about what my life was like back when I was first trying to break into the world of freelance illustration and writing for kids books. It was tough. After putting myself out there (with submissions of all kinds), and being as patient as I could be (which is not very patient), the rejection letters began trickling in. I was actually really proud of them. They said I was trying. I put them up on my walls and showed them to all my friends. I was like, “Look at all these ‘form’ rejection letters! It’s like I’m a professional now! I make stuff and they reject it. It’s all part of the process!”
Of course, it wasn’t easy. My idea of a night on the town usually involved a restaurant with a $1 value meal menu (I’m still poor now but I was more poor then—I really need to find me a sugar mama.) At the time, I understood the hard truth that hard work doesn’t always guarantee that you will get what you want, but every time I thought about going back to get a degree in something that would lead to a regular job with a regular paycheck... I couldn’t go through with it.
In time, my rejection letters began to have notes with them. I was getting personalized rejection letters!!!!!!!!!!! I thought that that was amazing.
Eventually, I got my first real job and everything from then on went smooth as butter (just kidding.) But, even though the ups and downs (think of a Yo-Yo on a dude’s hand) kept coming they were becoming more evolved problems (think of a Yo-Yo on a dude’s hand who is going up some steps—your still facing tough ups and downs but they are on a whole new level.) When I look at my current problems and stand back and compare them to the problems I faced years ago, I can see how much I’ve grown. Somehow this fact makes it easier to tackle my current problems/frustrations with making books.
So, these days whenever I’m having a tough time, I ‘take a step back’ and look at how much my current problems show that I’ve grown as an artist/writer. My favorite way of ‘taking a step back’ is by reading some of my (many) rejected stories I’ve made over the years. I read them and I am reminded of the many problems I faced while making them and I can see (with so much more clarity) what the problems were and how I should have solved them. (I also laugh a lot—in a good way.)
OH, Wait, One more thing...
On June 11th, my newest (picture) book is coming out!
It’s called ‘Cute & Cuter’ (knopf) Check it out you Checker Outers.