Sunday, September 26, 2010

Two Quotes – One Theme

Two Quotes – One Theme

This past June, Stephen Hickman, a fantasy illustrator, spoke at our chapter meeting. His presentation centered on a survey of art work and book covers from his thirty year career. With each example he shared comments on technique as well as personal anecdotes. At one point I heard him make the observation, “If you do anything everyday over a long period of time, you’ll be surprised at how good you can get.”

As he described starting and restarting art pieces, the long hours spent at the easel and even the compressed air he kept near his studio to keep his dogs away, I began to understand what he meant. There were times he would finish a piece only to realize the paints he’d selected weren’t going to hold the color. He’d throw it out and start over.

I heard echoes of Lori Wilde, a romance author who visited us in November. She described an instance when she wrote and re-wrote a novel four times with four separate plots before finally coming to an agreement with her editor and getting it published. I remember her saying, “No professional will balk at throwing something out and starting over, if they want to sell it.”

As Mr. Hickman showed slide after slide, I gained more hope. Several successful pieces had bad starts. I spoke with him afterward and surmised the key to his career was in perfecting his technique and skills over time and not giving up.

Both Stephen and Lori left me with the challenge to develop patience in the craft. They persevered to success and both have left their mark in the publishing world. I find a single theme out of their presentations - publishing may take a while, but the rewards are worth the wait.

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