Episode 04: Our Most Embarrassing Stories in Illustration



  • @jthomas I will dig up the piece I did. I think it was on the Gulf War.Chris



  • I couldn't find the original but I found a tear sheet. The section was called view from the top....
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  • @teju-abiola @Lee-White
    I was going to mention the same thing about faxes for medical documents. I've had times where I needed to follow up on things because one office hasn't received a fax, but the other side said they sent it--it's frustrating! I kept thinking, "Why can't they just use email!?" I know regular email isn't secure, but it's still annoying to deal with faxes. I have no idea why realtors still use faxes, though!

    Lee, you're not alone on having trouble remembering names! I wish I was better at that!



  • I laughed out loud on the train from work yesterday listening to this. I wish this sort of thing was part of every college course for everything, it's so good to hear that even pros make mistakes. Another inspirational podcast.



  • This isn't embarrassing really, but its a moment that I regret, and I still get that sinking feeling when I look back just like they talked about in the podcast:

    I went to the National SCBWI conference two years ago. One of the things I was really looking forward to was, of course, the illustrators showcase. All illustrators had the chance to set out their portfolios with a stack of postcards/business cards and all attendees, including agents, art directors, and editors, could go and peruse them.

    This was the year BEFORE they downsized the national conference, so when I tell you it was packed, I mean there was absolutely NO elbow room at all. I met up with an illustrator I had met in an online critique group, and we set out portfolios out next to each other and chatted a bit, until the room just became much too loud. At this point portfolios were overlapping, both sides of the table were being used, and there were STILL some illustrators who didn't have table space for their porfolios--some just stood by the wall holding it out for people to see. (So I TOTALLY support their decision to downsize the conference this year. I'm excited to go again in the future when its less crowded... but digress.)

    I came to the realization that standing beside my portfolio as most illustrators were doing was actually filling the space where someone would need to stand to actually look at my work. So I talked to my online friend and we decided to take turns watching each others portfolios while one of us got out of the way, so there could be space for people to see our work.

    I went and elbowed my way in to see some other illustrators work and really enjoyed that part of it, I met some really cool people who I still follow on social media. But when I got back, my friend had some news for me.

    "Where WERE you?? Arthur Levine was looking at your portfolio! He loved it, and he wanted to meet you, but we couldn't find you! He ended up just taking a postcard and moving on."

    Arthur Levine heads the imprint that published HARRY POTTER you guys. He loved my work, and wanted to talk to me about it, but I wasn't there for the meeting.

    Moral of the story: Stick around your portfolio at showcases. Also, if you can only make it to smaller conferences, that isn't actually such a bad thing--its much harder to get lost in a crowd that way.



  • No professional mistakes yet, but certainly cringeworthy that I sent in my illustration for the TRAVEL contest and it was the wrong size. Broke my own rule: always write down the specifics for contests and post them near your computer. And double check before sending. Facepalm. It likely won't be my last mistake, but I have a pretty good track record of not making the same one twice...



  • To some degree, just about every piece of art I put out in the world makes me "cringe" a tiny bit. I'm always way too close to my projects and it's difficult to always be objective.



  • My most embarrassing story was from about 2002 when I first became interested in getting into illustration. I knew nothing about the business and blindly sent these out to Martha Rago who was at Henry Holt at the time. I had liked the book "Hondo and Fabian," so decided to send these out to her. I have learned so much since then and this still makes me blush with embarrassment. I hope one day to have an amazing portfolio to professionally present to her and perhaps one day remind her of this submission. It was wonderfully kind of her to even take the time to respond.

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  • @sarah-luann Wow that is some story, I hope you emailed him letting him know you were available to meet anytime :)



  • @jake-parker the Loved this episode. So full of laughs as well as good, practical lessons. Thanks for sharing your stories!
    P.S. The IRS still uses fax machines too. If you have several hours or days to kill, you can try it out. Just pray they don’t ever ask you to fax something in.