Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BIG FISH -- little fish

Although I have always drawn, painted, illustrated, created displays, posters, paintings, classroom materials, window design, invitations, murals and more, I have only been a FULL Time illustrator for a very short time. As a classroom teacher I was a master teacher and a pretty big fish in my community. As a travel agent I enjoyed swimming in the same pond as some very big fish................. then I decided to move to another pond.

When I started illustrating full time I had no idea how large the new "pond" would be. Yes, I knew there were large numbers of illustrators, but the realization of just how many became apparent after attending my first SCBWI conference. I and many others realized we were the little fish in a very big pond.

Just to swim into that pond was an amazing experience. The BIG FISH were there, of course, and many medium sized fish, and then there were those of us that were the small fry. The Bigger Fish talked to us little fish and gave us great insight as to where to find the best fish food. They told us how to watch out for the sharks out there and those scavenger fish that would love to have us work for nothing. The Big Fish shared their successes and disappointments with us. We felt that because even they had struggled our struggles would only make us stronger and wiser. They also suggested we stay in the smaller ponds for a while so that we could grow and learn.

By and by even little fish begin to grow. They learn how to swim a bit faster and smarter and find others in the pond that share the same interests and goals. One by one they leave their little pond and begin to navigate the open waters.

Over the past 6 years I have been blessed to have known all sizes of "fish" in the community of children's illustrators and authors. The community of blogs, websites, online portfolios, groups and connections have been feeding sites for me and many of my peers.

I think we all need to thank and pay homage to the Big Fish that have been our leaders, mentors, friends, and supporters on the journey. I am still a much smaller fish in the big pond, but I am learning that I can grow if I pay attention, work hard and of course... never give up.


Scott said...

Wonderful colors Ginger!!!

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bron Smith said...

Such well-written wise words, Ginger.

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

Such wise words Ginger. Indeed it is a really , really big pond. I didn't get the chance to go to the conference this year. Many of my friends have emailed me about it. It is so important that we stay encouraged because so many of us are falling by the wayside feeling as if this dream of becoming a full time illustrator will never come to pass. I will be the first to say," That while some are happy for me as an illustrator many are not." Some are even asking, " Why her??" Not that they are envious or haters. Only that they have been working at this for soooooo long with out value and honor. Most of us want to be published in all honesty. We want to hear some publisher or agent say,"Your work is outstanding let's do a book!" I would say that, "This certainly didn't happen over night for me. NOT!!! As my daughter would say.
It's been a long hard road for me filled with major disappointments and hurts, and loss. Lots of loss. One day I will share the story. I'm still working things out. GOD IS GOOD! That's all I can and will say. It's my heart to encourage EVERY illustrator and illustrators at heart to keep pressing towards their destiny. Some will find that this is where they should and ought to be and others will find out this is not what they want at all. It's good to be in the pond with you all. he he he!

Ginger*:) said...

Vanessa, what you say is so true.
My dad used to tell me that often people would leave one another after a visit with the words,
"Take Care." But he told me that he would rather leave anyone with different words....
"Take a Chance"

That is what I have done, and I treasure his words. You are right there is great loss along the way, but with the perseverance, persistence and a skin that gets pretty tough after a while we learn that hard work pays off.

Never let the idea that you can't do something stop you from trying.

Amy C. Moreno said...

Your post was so true, and having seen you work and push through situations, it means even more to me to read it.
I am also touched by Vanessa's post. I am so proud to be counted among you all..as a still small fish who has been floundering the past year.

It is an honor to even attempt to make it in this field and even though it's tough..it is worth all the work and waiting.

Amy C. Moreno said...

I forgot to say how lovely this piece is with it's colors and flowing lines..it sure gives the flowing peaceful feeling of the water.

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

I love this illustration Ginger! It's beautiful and tells so much. :o)

Roberta said...

This post touches my heart Ginger. I admire your wisdom and tenacity!!

Beautiful illustration as well!