Over the summer i was given an opportunity to ‘try out’ for an illustration job.The offer came out of the blue, from the husband of an american author i know. He has also written a couple of books, but had now written a children’s book and was looking for an illustrator. I naively thought that the email i received was only sent to me, i leanred the hard way that this email had most probably been sent to the whole of their database, and so i was up against a lot of people for the job!

As i was not at uni, and had no one to ask as to what to do, i instantly went into a state of panic as i tried to remember what the ‘process ‘was..but only indulged myself with 5 or 10 minutes of panic before then realising what i needed to do! He had asked for a link to my website, and also for some samples of my work. The first thing i did was to reply to him telling him that i would be interested in hearing more details and being involved in the project, and also informing him that i would send through samples and the link within 48 hours ( i thought. in my ignorance that this was a reasonable amount of time, what i should have done was to send the link to the website straight away, and then sent the samples in 48 hours!). I didnt get a reply to my email.

Within 48 hours i had done about 7 hours of research, performed initial realistic sketches, pencil drawings, character development, and even roughed out some basic scenarios based on the two lines he had sent me, and then converted them to dip pen and ink drawings.I also scanned in another 40 images onto my newly created website http://helenrobinson.net  and sent him a quick email to tell him that he would receive the link and the completed colour and inked up drawings the following morning….

i thought i was doing really well, and was pleased with myself, that was until i get the email about an hour afterwards. The email thanked me for getting in touch but informed me that he had turned away over 100 really talented artists and that he had now chosen his final few that were now going to ‘bid’ for the work! i cannot even begin to tell you how low and hard my heart sank.All that work, all that effort, and he hadn’t even got to LOOK at what i had done!

If anyone knows me, they would know that there wasn’t a cat in hells chance that i was going to back off that easily, i didnt really mind if i hadn’t got the job, especially as he told me that there were so many great artists involved, but i wanted him just to look at the work i had done, for the sheer principle of it! So i emailed back!

I thanked him for his correspondance but told him i felt a little frustrated because of the work i had put in over the last 2 days and wondered if he could at least look at the samples i had attached,and also at my website. I receieved an email back in hours.He had looked at my work and changed his mind, i was now in the final few, and had just by passed hundreds of artsists! This felt great!!

He asked me to sign a non disclosure agreement, which i did, and airmail it over to him, which i did.I waited in anticipiation for the manuscript to arrive, so that i may then start the laborious process of costing and timing the work out.The manuscript never came,and  only after 2 emails from myslef, with me checking on the situation,and a wait of over 2 weeks, did i finally get an email back, thanking me, but telling me he had already chosen his artist and was now stopping his search.

i did wonder if he would have ever let me know, if i hadnt contacted him? It does however, not matter, what matters was the ‘process’ and the learning. The learning was invaulabe. i got help from other illustrators and advice, i learned more about the process and where i went wrong, and to be honest there was a part of me that was worrying about how i was going to fit it all in with the year 2 work at uni as well..

All is well that ends well!! Here is one of the ink drawings i sent through to him, that i had created so quickly. It was the picture that for that moment in

time changed his mind!!

Dip pen/ink and watercolour rough

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