Sooo excited to receive ten copies of "Samantha Loses the Box Turtle" in the mail today! It's been available for digtal e-readers for about a year now but I had always hoped it would one day make it to the printed page. Thanks to our successful kickstarter campaign this book is now available in print. The picture below shows the books spread out with one of them opened up to one of the internal illustrations, there are a couple of bookmarks and some amazing stickers as well that the author sent to me !!! Sooo Awesome! In the upper part of the photo are a couple of the near finish illustrations for the children's book I'm currently working on " Pigs Under The Post Office" .
I was pleasantly surprised to turn one of the shipping boxes over and find this great little message. It's a stick figure drawing of Samantha and says " what Samantha would look like without you" .I'm sooo blessed to work with such amazing clients who value what I do enough to hire me and who care enough to go that extra step. I've had a client who published my process work into a book just so I could show future clients my process and how much work goes into each project. I have a client who has gone the extra mile to publish his own books and continues to help me publish books for my other clients and who did book readings, fall festivals and even did some plein air painting with me and set up a number of other successfull book projects for me with new clients. I've had clients who send along bonus payments when they get the final art, love it and realize how many hours it actually took to complete the way they wanted it. I've had a client who got me my own studio for free at an old convent, paid for an apartment for me for a few months to finish their book (on top of regular payment for the illustrations), took me out on his boat to go fishing in Boston, brought me home cooked meals in the studio, invited me to use their pool any time I wanted, moved me back to Vermont from Boston with a company truck etc. I've had repeat clients who keep me in business. I had a client who liked to call every now and then just to talk about faith and life as friends. My clients have sent me copies of our books, send me amazing encouraging e-mails when I'm feeling stressed, they are respectful to me and generous.
I try my best to be professional but at times it's difficult working for soo many different people over the course of the years and it can be overwhelming when I promise to have things done by a certain time and then take on too much other work to follow through. My clients are patient and understanding. I have no idea where I would be without them!!!
So getting these books from Daisy and this fantastic little drawing and note just hit a chord with me. It made me realize that too often I focus on the few clients who never seem to make their payments on time, or who pull out of a project without paying for the work already done or who just keep wanting more and more without offering more pay. It made me realize I would rather just focus on the great clients who follow through on their end of things. They may feel like they can't do the illustrations without me but I know for sure I can't do these illustrations without them!! I'm particularly thankful for those clients like Daisy who have experience with teaching kids and who devote their lives to loving on kids. These are the clients who write great stories that kids will love and that will teach kids. In the end that's the real reason I'm in this business. Sure a large part of it is that I'm still just a kid at heart and I love to be able to bring that out in my illustrations but I could paint all day and not feel fullfilled unless it were for the books being published and making into the hands of kids.