Monday, December 30, 2013

What I Learned In My First Year as a Freelance Artist

2013 was my first year working as a freelance artist, and so far things are going really, really well. Sometimes, when I'm working on a commission, I stop and think, holy cow, this is actually happening. I am actually doing this! It's very thrilling. The other day I actually said, in complete sincerity, "When is the weekend going to be over? I want it to be Monday again so I can get back to work!"

Next year, I'm looking forward to the experience of seeing my work in bookstores.

Winning the SCBWI Student Illustrator Scholarship this year was my "big break" that set off a very positive chain of events, such as signing with an agency, attending the SCBWI Conference, and working with publishers. And the crazy thing is, I almost didn't apply for the scholarship. As I wrote on this blog:
When I applied, I remember telling my husband, "yeah, there's no way I'm going to win this." "Then why are you applying?" he asked. I said something like, "I dunno, I guess it's just good to put myself out there as much as possible. And it's free to apply, so."
Looking back, I shudder to think of what I could have missed out on had I just let that application deadline slip by. Yikes.

So the thing I learned this year is: enter the contest!

Whatever it is you hesitate to do - a contest you're intimidated to enter, a publisher you're afraid to contact, a magazine you're worried will reject you - do it anyway.

Happy New Year, everybody!


  1. You've done everything right, and now you're living the dream. "Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people." Pro 22.29 or something.

  2. Timely and needed. Thanks for the encouragement.


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