Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Making the Cut



Well Friends, it is said," In each ones life some rain must fall." I ended up with hurricane with
this little project. My wonderful Agent and friend
Lori Norwicki of Painted-Words.com was working on getting me this possible job with a well know book publisher, which shall remain nameless.
I really wanted this job very badly. Well, while the editors loved the
artwork, the art director didn't! He or she felt is was to commercial. It took me a couple of days to pull it together. A few pep talks from my brother Eric and sister Bella and I let it go.
I remember when disappointing situation like this would have devastated me and left me
feeling like such a failure. The fact is sometime we just don't make the cut and it not because we are not talented or capable. It just didn't work for them. Why am I sharing this information?? Just being real, we live in a real world with real people. In this business of
children's book illustration, fashion, editoral, crafting or the like, someone is going to have
an opinion about our work. Some will like it and some will not and just because they don't
doesn't make you any less talented or gifted. If I only told you about the good things and how
I got this or that job I would not be who I am. The Vanessa Brantley-Newton
who blogs here is the same Vaness Brantley-Newton who speaks to many of you on the
phone, via email, and facebook and through comments on your blogs. I share the good, the bad, and the ugly with yall he he he! Hey, as my very geechee Mama would say, " Chil' what don't kill ya sure will fatten you and when life gives you lemons, dam it, make lemonade!" I thought I would share the illustrations with you as well. Other project have come and will come and I am so very grateful for them. I hope that this will encourage those of you who feel like you've failed or didn't make the cut in some way. I would say to you, keep doing your best work. Enjoy the process of creation, laugh at yourself, pick yourself up and dust yourself off and try again.
Breakthrough is just around the corner.
Peace

60 comments:

Melinda Stanley said...

It's so great to see that you're keeping such a positive attitude, Vanessa! It's important not to let disappointment get the best of us. And, despite the art director's opinion (because that is all it is—a matter of opinion), I think the illustrations are wonderful! (as per usual! ;)

Peter Breese said...

I know the feeling, I didn't make the cut with a publisher recently - actually the authors nixed me. They say that whenever one door closes another opens, but I'm betting you've opened an entire neighborhood with your wonderful artwork!

Sarah said...

Aww, I'm sorry! We all go through that so you have plenty of people to commiserate with. The art is beautiful and I hope it will find a home somewhere else!

Kelly Light said...

Yeah that word "commercial" haunts me as well. So does "too appealing" "mass market" - and one all time best "no business in children's books". I persevere! For every person or art director - that doesn't get me - there are far more who do. I "get" you- You're a wonderful illustrator as "Let Freedom Sing" so clearly shows - Rock - ON - Vanessa!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Very sad Vanessa, because the illustrations are most delightful and I cannot see *commercialism* in them.
I learned a long time ago with fiber arts that you can be THE MOST TALENTED one competing, and if the judge has a bad day, is a grump, who knows what, you don't make the cut for the show. It has nothing to do with the WORK.
That's the hard part to balance emotionally, at least it was for me.
Can you submit elsewhere or do a self published? I mean, the little girl is absolutely darling! Do it as an e-book dowload? (just letting my brain dribble out this a.m.......)
I can't believe this does not have a diffferent life awaiting somewhere else.
Hang tough, lovely artist!!!

XXOO!!
Anne

Alicia Padrón said...

I don't know if i should tell you this, but your post made me cry. BUT in a good way!

You are awesome Vanessa. As an artist and as a person. First of all the talent you have is beyond amazing and the person in you, the one that wrote this post, is amazing as well.

Art is our life and is who we are. But unfortunately there is also a business side of this art and when things like this happen, feels like a bucket of cold water was thrown over you, doesn't it? It's one of those tricks life plays on us.. that artists being as sensible as we are often find ourselves in situations were our feelings get hurt. The commercial business side of things is never easy.

Those samples you have there are full of life, heart and are a reflection on the little girl in you. Don't let one person's opinion keep that little girl from bouncing around. :o)

You have such a talent girl! My hat is off to you. :o)

Sweet Pea said...

You are such an inspiration Vanessa - always encouraging and positive, no matter what. Thank you for sharing the ups and the downs of the life of an illustrator.It may not always be rosy, but your attitude is.
Keep on doing what you are doing my dear, and I am sure that good things will continue to knock at your door :)

Amy Farrier said...

Vanessa, you are an incredible force of positive energy and inspiration to fellow illustrators! Your work is vibrant and your characters are appealing (no surprise considering their creator), and I think that's a pretty fabulous quality in the children's book world. Can't wait to see what your next project is. Off to dust myself off after my own recent constructive criticism and do some laughing and creating.

Charmaine D'Silva said...

Vanessa, you are one of the sweetest, kindest, talented, hard working, prolific artists out there. It really is a shame that you didn't make the cut with these (which are gorgeous btw) but we all know it has nothing to do with you personally. You are a great friend and mentor to me and many others too and seeing and hearing of your many successes encourages me to push on.
Love you lots...xoxo Charmaine

Amy C said...

I hear you and completely understand, I hate to turn down any job, you so did the right thing and you are so awesome at sharing with us your excellent thoughts.
I LOVE these illustrations they are stunning and unique just like YOU, you rock.
A x

Marcelo Vignali said...

Even if criticism seems unfounded, sometimes it's worth considering in order to push yourself to the next level.

Keep the positive attitude, and keep moving forward.

Bella Sinclair said...

Say WHAT? Too commercial??? What the heck does that mean? So the art director wants something edgy that might not appeal to children? Humph! I think these are incredible and radiant. They make me want to dance. The art director is just one person. Too bad everything has to depend on one person's opinion.

Well, darling, I don't know what I could say to you that you haven't already told yourself. You are absolutely right, you know. Listen to yourself. You know best, oh wise one. Your attitude and bootstrap mentality are your greatest asset. And you have talent coming out the wazoo. You are Vanessa Brantley Newton, and don't you forget it.

ps. Mmmmm-mmmm-MMMMMM! Those frozen veggies are too good to eat!

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

Now yall done made me cry!!!

Lisa M Griffin said...

Bravo!!! You are always so honest in your perspective of craft and life, truly a BLAST of fresh air. I feel for you, it is hard when a project falls through or a promotion falls flat. As an artist you can have the thickest skin, but rejection still stings. Glad to hear this hasn't jaded you, because you are extremely talented and a daily inspiration to me! Thank you for sharing.
Oh and by the way, I LOVE lemonade. =)

dandeliondog said...

Vanessa, I love your positive attitude!! You are one of my inspirations in the world of children's book illustration because of that - when I look at your wonderful illustrations and read how enthusiastic you are about them, it gets me motivated to start new projects!

Great work as always and as Dory says in Finding Nemo: "You know what you do when life gets ya down? Just keep swimming! just keep swimming!"

Eric Barclay said...

Big hugs

Loni Edwards said...

Vanessa, you rock! You are such an inspiration! Where one door closes, another opens is one of my favorite sayings. A positive attitude like yours is an inspiration. Thank you! Your illos are beautiful. Loni

nina seven said...

hey v - keep on keepin' on, girl. you've got a great attitude and you know how talented you are - extremely! i don't see the commercial aspect to these pieces -they have such life - what could they have possibly wanted? regardless, you are the cat's meow in my book.

Janine said...

Amen sister!
You are so right.
Life is not like a musical request programme. Sometme it´s like a symphony and sometimes we have to stand the polka or (even worse)the techno- musik (eek).
You seem to be a realy great person ( I assumed that before).I thank you for that post nd that captivating paints of your little dancer.
They are so beautiful and would have been an enrichment for every book.
Hugs
Janine

Cheryl Lynn said...

Okay, Momma! This is just a minor setback for the children's illustrator to end all children's illustration. I can't fit the words into the worlds largest book to tell you how much you have inspired me. I am still struggling with having no bites yet for my work, but this post will help me to pick up my pencil yet again and continue to draw, create, and dream out loud!

I love you more than any words can say and these illustrations are so beautiful they bring tears to my eyes. This young beauty dancing around with the gorgeous hair is the epitome of what lies within every little girl who strives to love herself in a world a adversity. Her room, her face, her hair, her personality and vibrancy is pure and evident with each stroke of the paint.

Now matter what was said, from where I sit, the Magnificent Vanessa has struck again. Bravo, Momma!

littlemissmachete said...

I am sending you a humongous heart-shaped chocolate ice-cream via the bloggerland mail!
You rock, you know it, and we all know it! You inspire us, encourage us... I can see your amazing being shining through your art and your beautiful soul lighting up our blogs through your posts and comments.
You are one of a kind, girl! And that's something no AD ain't ever gonna dim!

Shirley said...

I'm bookmarking this, Ms. V! I remember those powerful stings in life..perhaps that's why 20 years have passed since my dreams of being an illustrator have awakened again. I have to tell you, that you have been instrumental in keeping my attitude enthusiastic about the future. Truly. I say that this work is worthy of the best publishing house there is. With this work and the adversity that it's met, you've managed to bring to light the power of your work to others. Love the little girl..and her powerful inner beauty that comes forth in her movements. That is pure Vanessa! Big hugs to you!

Redheaded Stepchild said...

Wow! I'm exactly where Shirley is! 20 years for me, too. Thought that being a graphic designer was what I wanted...
Too commercial? That's like saying something's too sweet (no such thing in my book!)So, they don't want anyone to buy their product? Huh?? I think you should create a story around this beautiful little girl and have it be commercial and YOU will reap the benefits instead of them! You go girl!

Damion009 said...

um... EPIC!

caren said...

Excuse me but haven't you heard "Opinions are like assholes - everyone has one"! I think maybe the art director was a little jealous. I hate when people have to judge other people...it's just not right. However, you have a beautiful attitude. More of us should be like you! I think your illustrations are beautiful - everyone should dance like that!

rebekah said...

i love the illustrations, and love it that you take the time to write this and encourage other people, even though you are feeling down. you have a wonderful spirit and it is this spirit that shows in your illustrations. and that's why so many people love them.

it's like finding the love of your life. sometimes things don't happen as you hope it would and it has nothing to do with you. it takes a lot of time to find the right match, and when you finally do, it will be magical.

cos you are ;)

Ces said...

What does "commercial" mean? Oh my dearest sisterfriend! That is such hogwash. Your style has a certain classic flair. It is not commercial. It reminds me of my favorite books in childhood. I don't understand. If yours is too commercial, then mine is too elementary. I do not get it at all. On to the next project sister. A stump along the way does not stop us, we swerve or jump over it. Let's go on! I love you.

tortagialla said...

Definitely think positive, you will find the right audience...no need to change your work! I love your illustrations!

MONICA said...

Vanessa, I love your positive attitude!!. You have such a talent girl!. I thank you for that post nd that captivating paints of your little dancer.
They are so beautiful. Big hugs and kind regards.

Shirley said...

OK, no more cryin' Nessa...do you like Beyonce? My girls just love this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmSPeBLR678

Shirley said...

PS, watch the video til the very end..I won't spoil it.
BIG HUGS from California!! : )

justdoodleit said...

These illustrations are very sweet and absolutely charming. Too bad they didn't make the cut. But hey, the best thing about being an artist is that - we just need to create our next cool piece to overcome the past disappointment. Here's wishing you the best :)

Desiree Cassidy said...

Sorry it didnt work out for you, I love it though and you should feel very proud, they are wonderful! :)

Shell said...

I so can relate, i'm glad you are taking it well. As an actor, I have learned to take not getting certain jobs in stride. A lot of times it has nothing to do with me personally or my talent.
I am truly bias, Vanessa. i love your artwork so I can't fathom anyone not loving it.

ginger bred said...

This is such a lovely, honest, inspiring and moving post!!! It's something I can relate too very much, I've been told my work isn't good and that i should stop what I'm doing... but I'm a total believer of doing what you love doing and that's just one persons opinion - so take it on board, don't let it get you down and just keep going anyway! Some people will love what you do and others won't understand it... but hey ho, life goes on! I love your attitude, you are a true inspiration! Keep going and I think your artwork is simply amazing :)

Asja said...

I'm sorry to hear you didn't make the cut.I simply can not understand how could anyone label your work "too commercial"? every time I see your work I think how truly unique, creative and original it is and also very charming and appealing in the most tasteful, elegant, positive way!

Laura said...

Hi Vanessa, so glad I stopped in, love your REAL post today. These illustrations are fabulous, as is all your work. Yes, it's hard to take rejection of our work personally - we only have our hearts & souls in in it, right? :> I've recently thought about giving the whole 'art thing' up, it's been a heckofa year for me...

Anyhow, you go (and go) girl! Your unstoppable attitude & success helps so many of us...

{{hugs}}

get zapped said...

What a humbling and inspiring post. I truly appreciate your candidness - your honesty. It's so true we don't always make the cut for every situation in life, but it's all in how we deal with it, and hopefully grow with it. Many thanks for sharing this with all of us. Btw, I simply adore your dancing girl illos. The food smells yummy too :)

ratu lakhsmita indira said...

thank very much Vanessa. Im glad i met you here and you share something like this (aside from your cute and fun artworks).
You know im just a new girl here, i know nothing about nothing in this business, but i keep doing my best work :)

have a lovely weekend Vanessa!

xx

Nita Jo said...

I love the illustrations, and I love your attitude! My grandma always told me something better would come along, and it usually did... not always when I wanted it, but it came. After lots of "making lemonade" my new "lemons" saying is...
"and if you're tired of lemonade, make lemon pie"

Angela Meijer said...

Wowie wow wow. Thanks so much for sharing this Vanessa. These illustrations are crazy amazing by the way. Art is so subjective, it never ceases to amaze me. I love how you say breakthrough is right around the corner. It's soooo true and so good to hear. It's such a privilege to get to follow your creative journey on your blog. Thanks so much for that.

michael robertson said...

Vanessa, you possess incredible talent, and you will continue to amaze us with your wonderful work. Rejection is a natural part of this business, and no matter how thick are skin is, it still stings nonetheless-I wouldn't sweat it too much, though, we all know bigger and better things await you...

rmsmi said...

That is a bummer. I guess it does happen to the best of us since you do some of the finest work I've seen. Like you said, keep up the good work and you'll get some good stuff.

Redheaded Stepchild said...

Vanessa,
Thanks for your inspiring comments on my blog. I can't believe anyone would hate YOU! I know what you mean about fitting in corporate America - I so do NOT fit in!! I say what I think, admit my mistakes and don't kiss anyone's ass - all things that really are not cool in that cold, soul-less atmosphere. Thanks for the pep-talk - you have such a generous attitude and are such a great motivator and inspiration to so many of us...
XO

Art Fan Ako said...

One day that art director will regret his/her decision... the nerve! Awesome quality illustrations you got here and I was a Children's Librarians for 10 years so I know what I'm talking about! Who needs them when you got us, your fans!

Tessa said...

Sweet, talented, gorgeous Vanessa - your work makes my heart sing and my spirit soar. I love to come in here to this magic place and just gaze for hours and hours. You're so brave to turn what must be such a bitter disappointment into this most uplifting and thought-proking message to us all. It's a whacking great honour to know you, girl, and to be able to see and share your words and work here on your blog. And, believe me, someday your star will rise to the highest realm....you are immensely talented so please hang on in there until the right publisher just happens along. Sending you huge gigantic flurries of love across that big blue ocean. xxxooo

Andrew W. Moir said...

"Too commercial"?? As opposed to what, something that WON'T sell? Glad you kept the right attitude though. Your work is wonderful. :)

TOMAS SERRANO said...

You are great!!! I think it´s wonderful you share this. That´s one of the reasons yours is a number one blog for me.

Julie said...

Thanks for this!

roberta baird said...

Opinions are like belly buttons...everybody has one...even AD's!

From one brushing off the duster to another....I'll meet ya at the lemonade stand girl!!!

;)
Roberta

k.h.whitaker said...

You are very inspiring. I'm trying after well... way over 25 years to break into illustration and I love your attitude. I think sometimes we let fear of rejection hold us back and we just have to realize that we are all just people, each with his or her own opinion. You just have to have enough faith in yourself to not let them(opinions) bring you down. Something better will come along because you are very talented. The trend seems to be veryyyyyy simplistic illos which I have trouble doing. But you have to be happy with your work or you won't be happy doing it, right? The trend will change, it always does. You obviously have a lot of fans, hang in there. Your work is really lovely and unique. I love the detail and style of it. But, alas, mine is just another opinion! :)

k.h.whitaker said...

Thank you for commenting on my work Vanessa, it means a lot to me!

Pencil Pocket said...

Really wonderful advice Vanessa. I think the spreads are gorgeous, and you are super talented so it's no reflection on you or your work. It's a shame but it's just a different set of needs from that particular art director. Best of luck with all the new projects that come through! xx.

Roger Simó said...

Thanks for this post and your sincerity

Francisco Martins said...

Dear V:
You are truly a lady! And you are damn right. You are incredibly talented - don´t ever let anyone tell you different!!!

A few months ago I went to a great international festival called Offf - It's a post-digital creation culture festival, where designers illustrators, film makers and all sorts of artists from all over the world gather to exchange ideas and watch conferences by top guest artists. This year the theme was: "Fail Gracefully - this isn't flying, this is falling with style". I can´t even begin to tell you how refreshing it was to hear great global design gurus speaking honestly about their own failures and personal frustrations, telling us about times when things really went wrong. It was such a relief for me to know that it really happens to the very best too. The lesson to learn from the festival was to realize how to walk from your failures with your head up and to do it "gracefully" . Sometimes your failures are precious lessons, you just need to know how to learn from them. They make you realize things you've never even thought about before. At first they make you feel bad... but eventually they make you wiser, and in the end... much stronger.

The subject of this post is very dear to me because we all fail. We need to embrace the good and bad things that happen to us and learn from them.

Thanks for sharing this! :)

Anyway...I can't imagine how the hell could anyone turn down such beautiful illustrations as this! Those are gorgeous!!

Kiss!

Francisco Martins

Kay Aker said...

What gloriously exuberant expressions of joyful livliness! Such an appealing character! Their loss, I say.

Sabbio said...

I'm sorry it didn't work out! :/ The spreads are wonderful anyway and it's good to read you are still positive.

Indigene said...

How could this be? Mon Ami! They are blind and do not have their wits about them...! Hmmmph! I've got my hands on my hips, my fingers pointing and rolling my eyes at them with my best "talk to the hand" look on my face! :)

Joking aside, you're an incredible artist who we love because of your wonderful personality, fabulous talent and did I say "crazy", too?!

Save those illustrations, it will be another art director's treasure! Hugs & Peace, sisterlove!

Kassi Isaac said...

Sorry to hear about you missing out... but just think.. it only happened because something BETTER is coming to you.. and its just around the corner you just have to keep your chip up and look forward so you don't miss it!!! xxx <3 kas

Jamie Davies said...

Beautiful, simply gorgeous!