My meetings with Mr. Lewis are always on Fridays. It is a few days later and I thought I’d tell about it.
When we first started our meetings, he worked with me on watercolor painting. This went on for almost two months. Summer was crazy due to some medical issues for me and some things with him. Anyway, we started back up in August. Before we started back up, I had decided that I wanted him to work with me on a dummy picture book. We have SCBWI conferences coming up this February and April in Austin and Houston.
My thoughts is that I wanted to work on my book dummy and even my portfolio before the conferences. He said that we could work on whatever I wanted to because it was my time. I’m not sure at this point what I will do with the picture book dummy once I’m done. But, I do think that working on it will be a great experience since we will be going through the entire process.
At this point, we are working on my thumbnails. Honestly, I didn’t think it would take this long to get through the thumbnail process. I thought that I’d be painting the pictures by now. BUT ……. he is truly making me reach into myself and pushing beyond what I thought I was capable of doing. I have to confess that it is sooo frustrating because I THINK that I’ve done what he wanted from me. Then to get to our class and it still not be good enough or what he is wanting to see. Yes, I’ve thought about quitting. But, then I think about it this way. First of all, he is an award winning published illustrator and I’m not. Second of all, if I were working with an editor, it would be the same thing. Tons of changes. Trying to tell what they are wanting to hear through my illustrations.
This isn’t easy or for the faint of heart. Mr. Lewis is TOUGH !!!!!!!!!!!! But, he isn’t trying to be mean. He is trying to push you into going beyond what you THINK you are capable of. He has really given me a lot of great things to think about.
I have met a lot of people in my position at conferences who come back to our table after their meetings with the agent or whoever. They are all upset because their portfolio wasn’t “good enough” for the person that they met with. They continue defending their portfolio and their illustrations. Then they speak of how wrong that person was. I sit there listening to them as they show me their portfolio and think to myself that they really need to listen to that PROFESSIONAL. There were reasons that they said what they did.
It really is hard to not take things personally about what the professionals do say about your work. It IS personal to the artist. But, if you don’t step away from your work and truly listen to what these professionals say then you aren’t doing yourself justice. You really don’t know what more you are capable of, if you stay in your box and don’t try to push BEYOND.
Well, now, I’m going to rework these thumbnails AGAIN. Yes, I’m feeling weary from reworking things so much and I feel liek I’m NEVER going to be good enough. I just want to quit !!! But, I’m not. I’m going to continue with this because even though he didn’t like what I did. He did give me encouragement when he said that he has seen how I’ve changed and that he believes in me.
Earl Lewis believes in me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO … shouldn’t I believe in myself too.