Monday, July 30, 2012

Thankfull for All of My Clients

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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

One Week With an Illustrator in The Studio

   This week is one of those rare weeks where I get to feel the joy of finishing off a few projects and packaging them up to send out to clients. Sooooo Happy!!! Most of my projects stretch on for months on end so whenever I finish a project it is a mixture of relief, excitement, exhaustion, and paranoia that they will come back for yet another revision on something.  It's often like building a skyscraper with an indeterminate number of floors.

   I began the week with some more color and border samples for "Pigs Under the Post Office"

Continued with some e-mail correspondence with a repeat client with whom I will be starting another imaginative family portrait.  I posted images to my portfolio, filled out my application for the East Burke Fall Folliage Festival, read art blogs, listened to art related podcasts, and talked to the graphic designer for my "A Cloudy Day " book. That book is finally going to print!!!!

I then found out that a book I illustrated the cover for in 2010 has finally been published! So I sent a congratulatory postcard along to that client.

 I was finally able to make some time to do the absolute final revisions for the Bull Illustrations. I also got to use my "new" printers full 13"x19" printing capabilities for the first time : )  $82 for the ink and photo paper!

Then I had half a day to work on the final line drawing for my wedding invitations I'm doing the illustrations for. As much as I would like to show the progress for that, I really want to keep it a surprise for now but will definitely unveil that eventually.

The second half of the day I took the time to do an original watercolor painting of the turtle from "Samantha Loses the Box Turtle" which is a commissioned reward for the kickstarter campaign. Complete with a certificate of authenticity and free postcard samples of my art to go along with all of the other cool prizes they received from the author.

I started this week on a  high from having finished the final art for "Samantha hatches the Chicken Egg". One of the full page illustrations below.

Today and tomorrow I will be finishing off the week by mailing/delivering the art, writing this blog post, probably updating my website and blog with my two new books available, "Samantha Loses the Box Turtle" paperback version and" "Hello Jesus, it's Jeanne... Again". Then I will transfer the final drawings for my pig book onto the final painting surface to prepare for a full week of painting next week!