It happens to us all, some times illustrations are rejected for utterly bizarre reasons (angels don’t have wings or at least right wing protestant ones don’t), and others well maybe it just wasn’t what the design team and editors had in mind. And there’s always the author, utterly unpredictable. Decisions to accept work or reject it can be completely subjective.
You have probably done a great job and the designers love it, then marketing and sales team turn around and say it’s not working for them!
Ahhh being rejected is never good, but it happens to us all.
This illustration by James de la Rue, which I think is completely wonderful, for an American publisher, was rejected with no real explanation. Except they must be completely barmy!
So when it does happen to you, grind your teeth, swear and curse, then realise it’s their loss and get one with the next one, as I used to say to one illustrator, although it’s the end of the world as you know it, it is just a children’s book.
Follow us on Facebook
I was a serious child, and not without good reason. I must have been about five years old the first time I can remember racing through the dark forest on a unicorn, my brother to the left upon a flying dragon and my sister close behind in a golden carriage pulled by six horses. Stars poked through the leaves above and thousands of ugly, screaming, giant trolls jumped up and down through the trees, closing in on us by the second. Will we make the castle before the trolls make dinner of us?
Suddenly the energy was sucked from our magical creatures, the forest slowed down, the trolls grabbed us and threw us into the air laughing.
"Didn't you enjoy that?" enquired one of the largest trolls, looking at me through thick black eye brows.
"Uhmm, yes" I replied, blinking and frowning; a few seconds ago it was the castle or death!
"You didn't look like you enjoyed it" he continued. "Your mother and I jumped up and down, called your name, waved like mad, but you didn't wave back or smile once! All the other children on the carousel were waving to their parents".
Briefly my father looked disappointed, then in a flash it was forgotten as he growled and chased us through the fair whilst we screamed with delight. Reality is secondary to a fast pair of legs, an imaginary sword and a flying horse when you are five years old.
This illustration was rejected as a sample spread for a book, but that's part of the job. When I painted it I wanted it to be sleepy, to compliment the lullaby script, and subliminally a dream like merry-go-round; the poles becoming trees, the animals flying free. There are no trolls as they'd wake the baby.
Sometimes, you have an idea. You think it's the best idea ever -- since the last one, that is. You burn the midnight oil in the grip of feverish excitement as you work it out. Everything is going brilliantly. You snigger. The characters come alive. They all have stories. The world is real, colourful and tangible. You love it.
It's a palpable hit!
Until you show it to somebody.
The above piece is one of those ideas. I get it. My wife gets it. But unfortunately, it's just us.
The counter of this is when you go to see a publisher and they pick on some small insignificant unregarded doodle in the corner of your sketchbook and say 'oh we love this!'.