Lyn Meredith

Children's book illustrator

107

5

The Glamorous Life

 I've always loved book illustration and folk art. I am a self taught artist, but I did take one illustration class at a junior college and lucky for me, we focused on picture book illustration.  I learned to make my own book dummies and where to look for teaching myself how to do picture books that I would be proud of.  I did both as time allowed (very little) while raising 7 children and starting a horse training career.  Now that my children are grown, I decided to put my art out into the world and after 2 little local art hop shows, I sold my entire stock of handmade jewelry, sold my folk art paintings, and got 2 children's book illustration gigs. One was for a self published author who ripped me off. I didn't regret it, because those illustrations in my portfolio got me a book deal with a traditional publisher.  My first traditionally published book comes out November 1st and I am working on the next one for the same publisher.

Just reading this over, my life sounds so glamorous, a HORSE TRAINER (really, this is NOT a glamorous career.  Training horses is a passion, working for owners who make problem horses- not so much.) And then when I wanted to get into illustration, BOOM, book deals fall out of the heavens.

Well, I have an artistic temperament, so I live in a perverse fantasy world with unrealistic expectations.

MY CURRENT DEFINITION OF SUCCESS IS self-defeating.  I got a traditionally published book and I am working on the second one. I am happy for that, but not happy enough because I would like TO MAKE ART MY FULL TIME CAREER. Constantly having new work coming in is my idea of success. I have cut way back on training so that I put my studio hours first, and that requires sacrifice of money I was comfortable with.  I'm a little impatient to get out of my day job because the clients can be very difficult and uncommitted. I have to carefully manage my day job so that it doesn't sabotage my creative mojo.  Also since, I am an ambitious person, I would like TO WIN THE CALDECOTT MEDAL!  Wow, talk about piling heavy expectations on myself. That's how I roll.

I am so glad that Christine told her story because this is the perfect time for me to re-evaluate my hopes/expectations and my idea of success.

Instead of wanting to hasten out of my horse training job, I just need to focus on the trustworthy clients, and continue to guard myself against the untrustworthy or drama prone clients. 

NEW DEFINITIONS OF SUCCESS:

1. I am successful if I draw every day and push into new styles and stories.  In other words, I want to have a better habit of mining my imagination. The artists I admire most are creating daily and are always exploring new ideas and techniques. I am already successful at this, but could improve.

2. I am successful when I have steady work pouring in.  This won't happen if I don't send my portfolio out and try to catch more "fish" .  When my book is in print, I will have more leverage to promote my work.  In the meantime, my daily work habits are the main thing that will move me towards more illustration work.  I am already successful at the beginning, but want to improve.

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