Illustration as a profession is not for the faint of heart. You have to be able to bend and roll with whatever might come your way : tight deadlines, revisions, being busy to the point that you barely have a chance to get up from your desk. The long hours and weeks spent by yourself with little social contact can become somewhat of a grind. Or the other times when it's so quiet you wonder if you have become irrelevant and if you will ever get another gig let alone see another pay check.
I know that this must all sound really terrible - so why do I still do it? In layman's terms: A - I have the opportunity to do what I love and what I'm good at for a living. B - What I do for a living makes people happy. Sometimes the world that we live in can be a very dark place. The fact that I am able to bring a little bit of light and happiness to the world, even on a small scale, is a good thing!
Since I began working on The Unselfie Project in June I've had the opportunity to illustrate hundreds of portraits. I've been getting great feedback from clients and fans of my work in general. Sometimes it's just a quick, "got them, love them, thank you!" email. Other times it is bit more involved. Either way, I feel like I did some good for someone. Here are just a few of the responses that have made me smile:
"Thank you. I hate pictures of myself but these are just wonderful!"
"This is ****ing AWESOME! And I just saw that you totally nailed the crooked tooth! I was worried that you'd straighten it, as is most people's tendency with Photoshopped pictures of me. That tooth is a defining feature of both my face and my personality, so thank you for honoring that."
At a house party I attended this past weekend I ran into a some friends that I do not see very often who also happened to back The Unselfie Project on Kickstarter. They were thrilled with their Unselfies, so much that they gave me the nicest heartfelt, hand written note that I have received in a very long time along with a ornamental replica of artist, Robert Indiana's, "Love" sculpture (both pictured above). The note reads:
"M and I cannot thank you enough for our Unselfies. They are absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to display them in our house. As I have said before, you are an extraordinary artist and I admire your work and am blown away with your gift. Never stop being you and reaching for the stars. With our sincere love and gratitude, M and S."
I just want to let everyone know that the quick emails, enthusiastic notes and tokens of appreciation that I've been getting along the way really do mean a lot to me. At the end of a 12 hour work day or a 60 hour week, a few kind words are what remind me that I am doing the right thing.
So thank you!