Monday, March 12, 2007

I learn new things every day!

Well, don 't look too closely at this one, it's definitely not going in the portfolio and neither are the other pieces I did for this project. This one was probably the most presentable. This little project doesn't have a title. It's a tiny little story (3 pages, 3 pictures) that is going into a book with a compilation of stories for elementary school.

As the title of this entry says, "I learn new things every day." Here are a few things I have learned ever since I started publishing:

I have learned that deadlines are almost never what you would like them to be. It seems like most places are in a panic to get things to the press. Of course, this may be the nature of the types of jobs I have been given. And really, when you are still kind of starting out, you take any job you can get so you can get published and get more portfolio pieces. So, having small children and finding that sanity is better than the absolute best quality, I have learned a few tricks to help me to get through these jobs. One of these tricks is doing a lot of washes (almost a watercolor look) instead of using all opaque paint (I use acrylics). I have managed to make it match my style close enough that it works. I am hoping someday that when I publish a real trade book I will have better deadlines so I will be able to have the quality I would like!

I have learned that working as an illustrator is very unpredictable and you never know what to expect. You never know when clients will ask you to do a job, or when a client will approve your sketches. In a way it's exciting to always be doing something different and never know what to expect. On the other hand, sometimes it gets a little inconvenient when a publisher takes a long time to approve your sketches and then expects you to be ready and any given moment to finish that job for them while other jobs may be piling up in the meantime not to mention your children may all of a sudden get very sick. And there are times when there is no work at all and you can work on promotional work, which is usually my favorite time, because I love doing what I love to do they way I love to do it, instead of someone telling me what to do and how to do it!

I have learned when they say "you'll have 10 days to finish this" it doesn't mean 10 working days/week days. They are including weekends. This gives me less days than some illustrators may have since I always take Sundays off for religious reasons. I thought this would make things a lot more difficult for me, but I have always been able to finish my projects on time. I feel I am definetly being blessed for my efforts.

Wow, I have really written a novel now, so I think I will end this entry promptly!


Anonymous said...

And you can add to your list one that I learned...

For many of these jobs it's hurry, hurry, hurry , we need this in 10 days!
But how long does it take to get paid?
Not 10 days, that's for sure! 10 weeks maybe? =o)
Never thought that was very fair.


*Shawna said...

You are so so right!!! It usually takes about 3 months to get paid, which is totally unfair!

Stephen Aitken said...

Your blog is looking great Shawna.I really like your work especially how crisp and well-drawn your sketches are. Thanks for your comments on the images on my blog. Great to have you with Storybookarts. Isn't Janetgreat? It was a crazy Dec./Jan/Feb. wasn't it? Glad to get some breathing room too after all the SRA stuff. I'm still working on the finals for a book on Savannah Goergia for Santillana, among other things. Great to hear that you are also writing.