Pride

On a news’ show this morning I heard a quote from C.S. Lewis about pride—”Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” That seems to me a one-dimensional definition of pride. I think people who enjoy their work take pride in it. They take pride in doing their job well. Not in comparison to other people, but in comparison to themselves. I take pride in my writing and in my artwork. I like comparing it to the work I did a year ago, or two years ago, and seeing the improvement. I like seeing things turn out the way I had envisioned them. I take pride in doing the best work I am capable of at that particular moment. The problem with pride comes when it turns into bragging. But I don’t think pride necessarily equals bragging. Pride is a good thing. It’s what keeps us striving to do better. We want to be proud of the work we present to the world. If pride was a negative influence, then what kind of work would people...

Pride

On a news’ show this morning I heard a quote from C.S. Lewis about pride—”Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” That seems to me a one-dimensional definition of pride. I think people who enjoy their work take pride in it. They take pride in doing their job well. Not in comparison to other people, but in comparison to themselves. I take pride in my writing and in my artwork. I like comparing it to the work I did a year ago, or two years ago, and seeing the improvement. I like seeing things turn out the way I had envisioned them. I take pride in doing the best work I am capable of at that particular moment. The problem with pride comes when it turns into bragging. But I don’t think pride necessarily equals bragging. Pride is a good thing. It’s what keeps us striving to do better. We want to be proud of the work we present to the world. If pride was a negative influence, then what kind of work would people...

Things I’m Thankful For

With Thanksgiving just past it’s a welcome relief to think of things that I am thankful for, especially after the recent election and barrage of negative ads. I’m thankful the election is over and President Barack Obama has four more years to continue moving this country in the right direction. I’ve worked in cubicles, I’ve worked in offices, I’ve done data entry, I’ve piped frosting on Easter eggs, I’ve colored maps, and I’ve clean rooms at Knight’s Inn. I’m thankful that now I write, illustrate, and design children’s books and apps. Can I just say—I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. And, in case you weren’t sure, I love my job. I’m thankful I have Bo who makes me laugh everyday. A day without laughter is a very long day. I’m thankful for good books, good movies, and good TV that lets me escape into my imagination. I’m thankful for good friends. I’m thankful for technology that lets me do in minutes what used to take me hours. I’m thankful I’m a better editor now that I don’t have to type my manuscripts on a typewriter with carbon paper. I’m thankful for many wonderful memories of new experiences, and of times shared with family and friends. I’m thankful for things that make me think—that kick me out of my complacency and shake up my world. I’m thankful for sunsets. What are you thankful for?...

Self-Satisfaction—the Death of Creativity

I was just reading Murder with Puffins by Donna Andrews and there’s an artist character in it that has got me thinking. The artist is a thoroughly disagreeable person who naturally ends up dead, but it was the comments about his work that has me thinking. He was an artist that showed a lot of promise in his youth and made a big splash on the art scene, but then his style never changed. The level of his work remained the same for 40 years. How is it possible to paint, or for that matter, write, and not get better—to remain at the same level? In the very act of doing you would naturally learn better control, make discoveries, try new things, wouldn’t you? It says a lot about his character that he thought he was brilliant as he was and didn’t have to strive to get better. He thought he was perfect and never saw the flaws in his work. Fortunately I don’t think most creatives look at their work that way. I know I always see the flaws first. Later I may be able to appreciate how I handled something but at first glance it’s what I didn’t do well that hits me in the face. It’s more prevalent with my art rather than my writing. I have an immediate reaction to an image and it’s pretty evident to me what I struggled with and didn’t come out the way I intended. And while I know most people don’t see what I see, those flaws affect my own appreciation and spark thoughts of “I’m not good enough.”...

Conference Boost

I went to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators fall conference this weekend. As always they put on a fabulous weekend with top notch speakers. However, like a lot of writing conferences, the talks tend to be for first time writers anxious to find out about the industry because they always make up the majority of the audience. Nowadays I go mainly to connect with friends and possibly do some networking. Maybe I’ll pick up some industry information, but generally it’s more social than anything else. I do get an adrenaline boost from being around so many creative people and that can help me through the dark winter months of rejection letters and looking for illustration/design work in this economy. But this past weekend I went with high expectations because Will Terry was one of the speakers. I’ve enjoyed his blog and I admire his work so I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say about digital illustration, and the ebook and app market. My expectations were met and then some. Will Terry is a really funny guy, and a wonderful teacher. I wish I lived in Utah so I could take his classes—and believe me, that’s the only reason I would want to live in Utah for I’m at home in Colorado—it feeds my spirit with its crystal blue sky and snow-capped mountaintops. But back to Will. Like all good teachers he makes you look at your world and work in a different, more exciting way. He also reminded me of some basic things that I’ve become too...