I love illustration. I love children’s book illustration. There’s a joy in creating a piece of art that you know is going to click with a family, or a class, or whomever is reading it. How cool is that?
But it’s not just the motivation of WHY I create, it’s the process itself. I love figuring out the puzzle of learning to design a scene, creating the look of a character, and picking out colors. Should it be painted or penciled? Outlined or no? Learning my process and defining my voice as I continue to work is really cool. And that moment when I get in “The Zone” and hours have gone by? That’s my favorite part. That’s when I know I’ve stopped overthinking it, and am putting something of myself into the piece that will make it say “Autumn made this.” And I know you’ll love it, because I love it.
It’s a tough field. It requires a thick skin to handle criticism and feedback, and a strong sense of self. There are lots of artists out there, and some make me feel like I’m a three year old holding my first jumbo sized crayon. But all that competition, and yeah, they ARE competition, consists of a lot of kind-hearted, generous souls who are always willing to help. Because the goal isn’t to crush the competition, it’s to become better one’s own artistic skill. Our fiercest competition in reality is our portfolio. We keep trying to become better artists, and every time we break through a barrier into a “Whoa, that’s a really good piece!” we strive to make THAT our new normal.
So as a result, we have a community of joyful sharing and encouragement. “Have you read this book? It really helped me!” or “Try THIS color for highlighting instead of white, you’ll love it” or “Have you seen this person’s blog, he’s AMAZING!” I follow Giuseppe Castellano on Twitter, and he will from time to time call out for illustrators, while many people will say “Hey, I’m awesome! There are twice as many folks saying “Check out this person!”
How can I not fall in love with that kind of positivity?