Every beginning illustrator must learn the facts of this career – the “big break” does not usually come right away. You usually go through a series of disappointments. Don’t take it badly, don’t give up, learn from it!
Farrar, Straus & Giroux contacted me about completing a book cover for a series. Of course I was thrilled, but alas, it was not so! The sketch phase went well, but after completing a final version, they decided to go in a different direction. If this ever happens to you, you should definitely get a kill fee. You should usually have no problem getting one from bigger companies like FS&G, but just in case you’ve never heard of this ‘kill fee’ and have no idea what I’m talking about (I’m sure you do, but just in case!), clients should pay you a percentage for what you’ve done. Even if you’ve only done sketches, you should be paid something.
Here’s a cropped tiny version of the book cover I completed. Once my website is rehauled, you’ll be able to see the full version, plus all the other good stuff I’ve mentioned in this blog but have yet to put in my portfolio.
What did I learn from this? Well… just the experience of communicating with an editor and working with a publication deadline was new to me (and waiting for the images to make the rounds in the entire office+some, what an exhaustive process!). I learned that I am good enough for someone to consider me for such an awesome project, and just because it doesn’t pan out, doesn’t mean I’m unworthy or bad, it just means… well… it didn’t pan out! And this is definitely not the first time I’ve had a promising project go nowhere. Happens to everyone. In fact, the same thing happened recently to a friend of mine who I graduated with – he was working on a book cover for a series as well. And anyway, now I have a new awesome portfolio piece