I've been learning a lot lately.

I've got two big illustration projects on at the moment, and just received feedback on some roughs from both of them. One of them got hacked to pieces, and the other was almost perfect. I was walking around going grrrrr for two days, until I received the latter (positive) feedback, and now I'm flying high. Funny how another person's opinion can affect you so much.

I do graphic design as a 'day job' and am able to separate myself from my work pretty easily. I take changes or criticisms like water off a duck's back. But it's different with illustration. I think perhaps because often you are creating characters, and you live with them and get to like them, and then when someone tells you that they're wrong - that their hair should be curly instead of straight or their feet should be smaller or their eyes should be bigger - it's harder to accept because it's so much more emotional. I'm finding it hard anyway. (Especially when you send through a sample to show how you will draw X number of people, which the publisher accepts, but then requests across the board changes when you send all X illos through. sorry... I'm just bitching now. sigh.)

I'm also learning that, unless you are commissioned to do a specific style, most often generic is best. Don't stylize or interpret. If they ask for a red doghouse, don't give a red doghouse with white trim, a sign saying "fido" and a little doggie satellite TV, cause they'll just request you change it to a red doghouse. Plus they're probably not paying you enough to add all the extra details, so save yourself some time, finish early and go enjoy the evening with friends instead of slaving over a hot light box all night.

I can't say these are happy revelations necessarily. I love putting in all the little details. And I did actually have the thought when I got the negative feedback: "Is this what I want? to do artwork only to be criticized for it? to draw what i'm told to draw and that's it?" but then i remember: I'm getting paid to draw. I don't have to monitor the stock market or pick cotton or package fish fingers. I sit at home at my drawing board, looking out at my garden, and paint. and that's a pretty good life.