Commitment / Inspiration

Rejection, by John White
(Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1982). Here's a quote:

There are three things to remember about rejection.

1. It is not the same as failure.

2. It is two-way--all while we are being rejected, personally and professionally, we are rejecting in the same (well, maybe not exactly the same) ways.

3. Rejection is necessary. Lack of it can be disastrous. Ross Lockridge and Tom Heggen both scored spectacular success with their first books and--very probably partly because of fear of failure, an unknown quantity--killed themselves before trying another book.
What could be more frightening than the spectre of rejection, when you don't know what it is? Only after living with it can you recognize it as a best friend."

Rosemary Sheffield **** Writing / Editing / Desktop Publishing
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Here is something I read whenever my faith in this business is challenged. I thought it might be of help or inspiration to others.


It was Goethe who wrote, "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute. Whatever you can do, or dream, you can ... begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage and then the mind grows heated; begin and then the work will be complete."

- Katie Atkinson - Connecticut

Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 22:10:52 -0400
From: Lula
Subject: Re: illustration: Re: Your Money or Your Life

I agree with Lainey that being in the right place at the right time is a major factor in being "discovered" The harder you work, the luckier you get!

I'm a firm believer in making your own lucky breaks and the power of positive thinking. Hasn't failed me yet and has kept me going despite some of the worst things that happen in life.

Everyday is a new day to look forward to - sounds trite but it works for me as I look forward to each day's mail, e-mail and phone calls, never know what new assignment/offer, info it will bring.


"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not;
nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not;
unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not;
the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Calvin Coolidge


Having always been a self starter - I created my own reality by starting a needlework design business when free lance work was hard to find and having a young child to care for.

It's so true about positive thinking - once I started my business I never looked back. I was totally committed in believing in myself.

The first rule I had was never to take any comments about my work personally because it was a business decision and the second was no shop can just sell one designer's work - there's plenty of work for all of us designers/illustrators because variety is what makes the world go round!

Speaking of money - I had one incident where a shopowner said my prices were too high - but she went around my (trade show) booths looking at all the designs and placed an order which surprised me as I have all the prices posted large and clear on each canvas.

Well, I painted them and sent them off only to get a phone call where the buyer complained she'd never be able to retail them at those prices and wanted to know what I was going to do about it! I simply said send them back (and this in the days before I was earning much money) - I could tell she was taken aback but she did send them back and I sold them immediately to another shop.

The power of believing in your own self worth really works and has carried me through the years. I value my work and time and they should too. You get what you pay for is my attitude.


I've been thinking the same thing lately. After years of taking every job that showed up because I was so terrified of "losing everything," I just started being stubborn and exploring. I needed an energy/joy infusion. Taught a couple adjunct classes in art at the university, didn't market as heavily as I had for years and years..Took a bit of a breather. Kept working but not as frantic.

I think we all are optimistic gamblers finally. I'm tweaking my business direction from children's textbook and picturebook art a bit. Surprised at the confidence...and accompanying terror at times. Am practising looking forward and not backward and putting anxiety energy to work. Those few posts I did this summer about multi-level marketing have driven me.

Was talking to a friend this week who isn't going for it because of the fear. Better facing fear than living in grief over a life unlived.

take care,

Do you want to be another Mary Englebreit or Mary-Jo Ackerly or do you want to make a comfortable and "can pay the bills" business. Not everyone can make it to the big time like those two. You have to decide what your goals are.

And.... DON'T GIVE UP! Determination is the singluar MOST IMPORTANT element in this freelance game.


If you are faced with an unpleasant person or situation that you can do nothing about, bless the situation. Bless the person and know and believe some good will come from it. . . . All of us have seen good come out of disaster . . . the "blessing in disguise." When you expect good to come from negativity, it will. What you think about, you bring about.

- Joyce Duco
Can You Cope With Happiness?

First of all, Lisa thanks for being an inspiration so many times for me! I have so enjoyed your quotes!

For me, I'm pretty able to go forward with my work even if the world around me is falling apart. I'm trying to think of some pointers on how I do this because I wasn't always able to. I remember the days of having to be in the mood to create a good painting. To have to wait for the inspiration to come to me, be it at 2:00 am or whatever. I listened for that voice until I got kids. Then there was no chance to get up at 2:00 to illustrate it was up to feed a baby! No time to draw! No time to think! My inspiration lay in those little ones of mine and, as frustrated as I was at the idea of not creating art, I was satisfied to enjoy my motherhood instead. What I didn't realize at that time, was that I was developing new ideas, seasoning my ideas with trials and triumphs of life.

It wasn't until I went out of my house to work that I gained habits of creativity when I needed them not when they decided to crop up.

#1-Make sure you take care of yourself. Don't be too tired.

#2- every day have a routine. Sit at the drawing board and doodle around, thinking of what you want. I can't stress how important it is to have a routine.

#3-Don't be too hard on yourself if the ideas aren't there for awhile, they will come!

#4-Give yourself a chance to breath. Get away from your work sometime during the day to taste life (such as the park where children are playing). If you want to illustrate life, you have to experience life.

#5 Don't be intimatdated by your assignment. Give yourself a pep talk on how you are capable to do this cover or whatever comes your way! YOU CAN DO IT!

Last point, even when the paint brush is not swashing around on your canvas, you are creating! Just like the Psalm, there is a season so there is for all of us! There are seasons when it is better not to paint yet. A time to gather ideas, listen and learn of what is around ones self. Only after that there is a season to reap those ideas into a beautiful creation of art.

Good luck Lisa! I know you will do great!

That old saying - the show must go on rings in my ears all the time. It runs through my head and in my case how true......

My mother died unexpectedly less than two weeks before a major trade show two years ago - my first reaction was hell with everything but after a short reflection - I realized this was not an excuse to wallow in.

First - my mother would have told me as she always did - you have to do what you have to - crying will not change the situation - what's happened has happened.

Second - the realization hit me - this is the trade show that sets the tone of my year's income and if I missed it, the consequences would be long....

So with these two facts in mind - I knocked myself out after the funeral in NYC - rushing home to MD and designing a new line of cheerful designs and get on the plane to CA a week later. Sure I felt terrible the whole time but to others I put on a happy face. I was a professional and I had to be that way publicly. My personal and professional lives are two different subjects and one doesn't intrude on the other.

I've been this way all my life - I could cry privately but publicly who really cares of the major upheavals in one's personal life? It's how you perform and meet deadlines that's important and as a business/professional person, that's all that counts to clients/customers overall especially to new accounts.

No, it's not easy living two lives but as your art teacher said Lisa, it's true - you will go on an automatic production mode. Often, this self protecting automatic mode helps in pulling yourself together - very often, for a few hours I will completely lose myself in my work, forgetting all the mental or physical pain in my life. In the act of creating something new or working, you start feeling whole again because this is what you do best and you're are going to put your best into it as it reflects you the artist.


Have you checked out the 'Artists Way' and 'Fearless Creating' books? They're great for getting one back in good paddling form.... I think it's all 'mental' after all. The most imortant thing is to not give in to doubt. Believe me, and I ain't no Pollyanna.

Motto of the free lance illustrator: "Never never doubt your talent... doubt only the effectiveness of your promotional strategy" and remember..."There's no telling what tomorrow might bring... life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved"

And lastly... it's the 'critic within' that's the hardest of all to please. That's the lifelong task. Sometimes its a matter of lowering the bar to allow a little happiness in.


Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 14:46:49 EST
Subject: Re: illustration: Initial Posting from the Hinterland...Kansasville

I'm a newbie to the list as well so welcome and glad to be here too. I'd like to reply to your family question. I too went through struggles in my family when I decided to throw caution (and a good paying job) to the wind and go out on my own as an artist. My family expressed many concerns regarding my choices, especially since I was a single parent with real responsibilities, yadda yadda yadda. But it was really just them being scared for me and my child. I don't know what your situation is, whether you are living at home or on your own. But when they saw that I was the same responsible person I was before, and that I was truly making an effort to make this work, they stopped second guessing me and began supporting me.

You have to ask yourself if you are giving them reason to approach you in this manner. Are you being irresponsible. Are you really working at your art, or are you using it as an excuse. If you do not rely on your parents for money then there concerns with how you spend yours is moot. If, on the other hand, they are helping you out then some consideration for there concerns is warranted.

What helped me most was when I stopped addressing their questions and began addressing their fears. Once they felt assurred that I was doing what was right for me then they calmed down. Try it.

and btw. It's not always necessary to express you ambitions or viewpoints and have them understood. Remember we're artists. We live on the fringe of "normal society" and being misunderstood comes with the territory. Keep your mind focused on your art and where your going and don't get caught up with the acceptance issue.

That's my food for thought anyway.
good luck

I think the important element I've seen in children and adults is INTEREST in the arts - and support from family, friends, or teachers. All children love to create -with the process being more important than the final product. Where we lose them is in those fragile years between 10 and 14, when they would like to learn how to draw things as they really look, instead of using the universal symbolic language of children's drawings. They don't realize that there is a method to learning how to really SEE THE WORLD, and in their frustration they lose their interest in artistic expression.

By creating beautiful things, I like to think that we are encouraging young artists, but it takes more than that. Volunteer at your schools, do a presentation at your local library, help with Scouts, provide supplies or advice for a young protege - you never know when this may change the life of a young person.

Theresa B.

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