It's all gone chilly again...

Cancer 20/3/2007

A dramatic shift in your emotional landscape may trigger your natural fear of the future. Your path in life could be changing now and you need a logical plan to make your dreams come true. Don't remain inactive because of your apprehension of the unknown. Find the courage to push through your own resistance and envision a new life for yourself.

Does that mean I should get over the rather patronising rejection I've just had from yet another an agent? Lord knows I've had enough of them in my time...to be honest, I'm getting a bit tired of it all. I've been in this game for nearly two decades now and my bulging folder of rejection letters is a potted history of publishers and agents. The earliest ones are typewritten...I am tired of trying. Twenty years is too long to devote to earning five grand a year. I am feeling that I'd just like to give up - stop battling the storm and sink beneath the waves. I've done nothing but paint for the last eight years, and I'm still earning less than your average part time supermarket worker - a wage I am highly familiar with. Although I've worked on some lovely things in the last couple of years, I seem to be incapable of exciting any agent. I've promoted to every suitable publisher in the UK, and as many again in Europe and the USA , but despite the huge amount of time, money and effort I've put into it, I am not getting any commercial work. Worse, I am still getting my writing rejected...and that does p*ss me off, because I actually enjoy writing and I always thought I was OK at it. I was feeling optimistic a few weeks ago, when the lovely gallery folk came over and stroked my ego - but I can't rely on another lucky break like that.

They came again last week, delightful as ever, and left me with one of those handy cheque things; they bought the Winnie-the Pooh artworks, and gave me a good price for them. No haggling, bless them. So I have enough money to replace my dying computer and limp along for a bit longer. Maybe I should buy a scooter and get a real job in town. Get a life, accept that for whatever reason I'm not good enough to make it or maybe I am but I just don't fit in, and start making some kind of real contribution to the household.
I'm sorry. I hate moaners, but there is something about being told (yet again) that your best work is not good enough which would send the most stoic of people into a chasm of gloom. Here, have a picture. On the house. Normal service may be resumed later.


Anonymous said...

I'll never understand why so many talented creative folk get absolutely nowhere, can't even scrape a better living than an office cleaner. What is wrong with the world?
Thank goodness for your gallery folk, Gretel, I really, really hope you'll get something that pays decent money very soon...

tlawwife said...

Sending you cyber hugs today. I am sorry that you are struggling with your professional life so. I can't imagine how it feels to think about giving up your dreams and loves. You have so much determination to have made it this far. No matter what you choose I believe that when God closes a door he opens a window. I hope you find your window and climb through it to the splendor that is beyond. I for one love your work!!

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel Gretel...it's so irritating when really crappy stuff gets published and yours doesn't. Maybe you should just really get into finding a way to do it yourself...that's what I have been thinking of doing. In the meantime, chin up and this little illo of the bunny is just darling.Hang in there, your style is so very different and very charming.

natural attrill said...

Oh Gretel, I am sorry to hear you feeling this way, cheer up mate, your work is beautiful, keep at it lady!

June said...

Hang in there Gretel.
I think many illustrators would be able to connect with your last post, but we keep on doing what we do, because it is in our nature.
Rejection also seems to be an increasing part of the deal!
Take some time out to do something nice for yourself, and come back to your work refreshed if you can.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gretel,

Don't give up. Sometimes a side job is good but make it something related with art. Here is an amazing man: Glenn Vilppu. He was my teacher and I love him dearly. Besides being an incredible artist and good teacher he is the best salesman I know. His website will give you an idea http://www.vilppustore.com/guideme.htm

Glenn teaches…he started with his tours to Italy . Then he invented his own sketch book and now he is selling those. He used to teach by mail now he sells videos and manuals, etc.

Are you a member of SCBWI? http://www.britishscbwi.org
I live in the USA and read their online boards. They have great information.

Maybe you can offer an online illustration workshop and see what happens. Check Susan Hartung…she teaches a couple of online classes http://www.susanhartung.com/courses.html

Gretel, you are an amazing artist and you just have to know that. My character design teacher, Phil Mendez, said, "Know who you are or they will destroy every little confidence you have in yourself. Do not let them do that to you." I think he would be proud of me for passing that along.

I have learned a lot reading your blog so I hope sharing this information with you cheers you up a little.



Soozcat said...

Hell, I'd pay you for your work. Not that I'm capable of paying what it's truly worth. I wish I had enough money to be a Renaissance-style art patron...

Anonymous said...

{{{{{Gretel}}}}}Oh my I know the feeling dear Gretel. I know so many illustrators who feel this way quit often. I go through the want of quiting too often.

I know not what to say excpet that your work is really truly awesome. You are not a lone in the money category. I know many illustrators who are in the same income bracket.

The difference in the other and you Gretel. . .is your work is really steller! Seriously. Have you tried reps in the US?

Oh Gretel, wish I were there to share some tea and lunch with you!

Hugs and Love

Daisy Lupin said...

Sending you hugs, I just can't understand why your illustrations are not snapped up, they are beautifully coloured with such sweet whimsical creatures who have character unlike some of the terrible cartoon like things that are around. When I look at them I always see them illustrating small special books like a Little Grey Rabbit size book, you know, one page of writing opposite a page with the illustration.

Joanna said...

Captain Rupert thinks your rabbit is wonderful and so do I. He know thinks its might be a good idea to have some nice pictures to decorate his hutch with. I have told him he would nibble them and thats no good. I have the same thoughts as you. Its sometimes so hard, why am I doing it. Keep at it, I love your work and so do loads of others. Take courage from the gallery people.

Sara Garrard said...

You know i think its this time of the year, yesterday i sat at my desk with tears rolling down my cheeks because everything seemed like the end of the world!

I have the same thoughts sometime, when i think of the hours i slogged at uni and i got a good degree yet my wages are still considerably less than those that don't and i have an almighty load to pay back, and i have a mate who got a 'real' job and earns earns and earns - i take comfort in that i actually like my job - i find those who earn bucket loads generally don't. For me when you spend 70% of your time working - its best to love it.You can see in your work that you love it too!

Hats off to you for sharing your feeling with us and tomorrow is another day and there is ALWAYS a better day on the way!


Courtney Pippin-Mathur said...

Hello there,

I am de-lurking to give you a few sites to check out for agents. I live in the US but quite a few agents on the below site are international and accept e-mail submissions.
take a look here: http://www.spar.org/members/illust.html
shannon associates is very large and international.

Chris Tugeau (www.catugeau.com) is a lovely woman who has turned me down about 3 times now but has offered wonderful advice each time. You might want to drop her an e-mail, I'm not sure if she does international but maybe she could give you some advice.

Hang in there, you have a wonderfully dark and sweet style.

Lisa Oceandreamer Swifka said...

My darling, you are not what I would classify as a moaner. What you are is legitimately frustrated for all the hard work you do. What I don't understand is why this is happening? What the __ are they looking for anyway? Your work to me is exceptional and splendid (and that is not false praise or a placating statement)...I also happen to love the way you write. You can make a walk through a forest seem like poetry. I guess what I am wondering is if there is a way to find out just WHY the answer is no? I wish had some amazing connection, I wish I had the means make your artistic dreams come true. Alas I do not, so all I can do is send you my heartfelt wish to the Universe that someone else DOES!

Anonymous said...

With the hours you must spend putting heart and soul into each precious illustration, rejection letters must pull the rug out from under your feet. It's easy for me to say from this end, but please hang in a little longer...your work AND your writing is top-notch. Don't close the door just yet...I firmly believe that this is the real meaning behind your tarot reading, finding the courage to resist giving up.

Chris.P said...

Hi Gretel,

I just want to echo what the others have said here. You are undoubtedly a highly talented illustrator. By rights you should be up there with the best of them.

I'm om my third Agent now and I only got one job from them in three years - an illustration of a bright pink pig!

I'm in uncharted waters at the moment because I decided to cut loose from the tortuous dependence on Art Director's and go it alone on my own projects. It's a bloody tough existence at times, but I figure I am pretty much unemployable now so I have no choice but to keep going for it.

Many of us are in the same boat. Your work may be sporadic but what you do produce gives many people loads of pleasure.

Never give up. Once a talent like yours has been released from the box you can't just stuff it back in.

Emm@ said...

Oh no you don't, young missy! I'm not having that from you! I can more than sympathise with you. This job can be the most soul destroying thing ever. Just hang on in there. We're here whenever you want to let off steam (moaning not allowed ;-) )

Anonymous said...

Oh Gretel I fully understnad the frustration and despair. You work so hard and don't reap the rewards. I guess you sometimes feel like flotsam and jetsam with no real control over your finances. But you are GOOD and all you need is a lucky break. If your skint maybe you could think about a little teaching / workshop type enterprise to help boost your income rather than the supermarket. Don't ever give up.
Carolyn x

Susan Mitchell said...

This freelancing life is so hard sometimes - either crazy busy or long stretches of nothingness that can eat away at your confidence (I was just bemoaning the same thing on my blog).

Like everyone else said - hang in there! Your work is beautiful and there has to be some publishers/agents that will recognise it. And have you ever sent samples to Barefoot Books? I could see your style fitting very well there.

And what about perhaps opening a little Etsy shop,selling prints and cards just to keep things chugging along? http://www.etsy.com/

Sending you best wishes, Susan

Cotswoldgent said...

C'mon PG where's that spirit gone? You are the best damn artist I've seen on this cyber world of ours, no giving up now!
There's always something round the corner and if I was a millionaire, I'd have bought up every one of your pictures ten time over! What stuff have you written? lets start getting it out on the net in chapters and lets spread the PG word!

lorna said...

Oh Gretel. I know exactly what you are talking about. We all do. All my heroes have said the same thing at one time or another. Struggle is often valuable but it is never ever easy. And as for success. Since when has success been so tightly linked with whether you 'make a living' or not? Every single painting you do is a success and a marker on your journey. So what if you get another temporary job to put bread on the table for a while? It is painting that will feed your Soul, even if you have a few less hours for it. You are The Amazing Gretel, and just as Amelie wasn't 'Waitress Amelie', you are defined by much greater things than what you do to pay your bills.

You are truly great, and don't go being put off today about what MIGHT or MIGHT NOT happen tomorrow. Can you afford to paint today? That's all you need concern yourself with.

With love

French Fancy... said...

Gretel, people who can't draw (like me) wish so very much that they had a snippet of your talent. I really hope a secret benefactor comes your way soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gretel, I lasted 8 measly months as an illustrator - just couldn't hack the rejection - I think you're amazing for sticking at something that you're incredibly talented at and clearly have a passion for. There are so many ways in which the world makes no sense and where values are completely skewed and this is a prime example. Why must it be so hard for a rare and beautiful artistic talent to receive deserved recognition and a decent wage? Hope your fortunes change very soon. All the best x

lettuce said...

So sorry to hear you're struggling so at the moment. everyone has to let it out sometimes, you don't need to apologise to use for moaning for goodness sake!

your work is clearly so much part of who you are that I doubt you'd be able to give up, would you?

I hope some sunshine comes your way soon.

Becky said...

I want to add my voice to your lovely cheerleaders and supporters here, and say I hope you're starting to feel more positive and that everything is on the up. Your work is beautiful, and there's no shame at all in getting a part-time job to get some money coming in to keep you going through the lean times.

It seems the fulltime illustrator is a rare beast, most seem to teach as well. Maybe you could advertise as a watercolour tutor? Maybe one to one sessions with adult learners. Just a thought.

Miss Erica said...

Dear Gretel,

just visited your blog to discover this post!
DONT ever give up, you're too talented.
I see from your latest post you seem to be out the other end of the 'gloomydooms', and a change of studio space seems like an excellent idea!
I think your work is amazing and really just don't get why your not being snapped up by an agent or a many publishers!
They obviosly have no taste...pah!

love Erica