In 2019, I put my full effort into making my picture book dummy. I remember feeling excited every morning, wanting to get up to start working on my picture book. I felt I had a purpose because the story has meaning to me and it felt good making it come together!
I went to SCBWI critique meetings and signed up for the SCBWI conference in Washington. At times, I felt frustrated or dejected when I got negative feedback. Sometimes I felt pulled into different directions by other’s opinions. I tried to re-work my story and illustrations many, many times. But in the end, I always referred back to my original inspiration which was on pieces of scrap papers. All in all, I found the critique groups very useful and necessary. I met friends who encouraged me to move forward on this journey when I doubted myself (special thanks to Emily).
These are what I’ve learned from my experience so far:
1. Trust when you are inspired to do something.
I felt the story coming to me at dawn and that I had to write it down had some kind of meaning/purpose that I need to pay attention to. I remember an interview of Abraham-Hicks by Dr. Wayne Dyer who quoted Rumi: “The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep!” Watch the interview What Is Inspiration – Dr Wayne Dyer & Esther Hicks: Co-Creating at Its Best.
2. Fail faster.
As it was my first dummy, I didn’t know how finished/legible my sketches should be so I tried to do it well which took a lot of time. I finished my dummy before I went through the majority of the critiques and it caused a lot of frustrations when I had to redraw them again and again. Sometimes I felt hesitant to change because I didn’t want to redraw them again. Then I stumbled upon this video: Fail Faster – A Mantra for Creative Thinkers – Extra Credits
It says the most basic lesson of design is to fail faster. Don’t wait until you think you have a perfect product before testing it out with people. On the other hand, my picture book classmate told me that because the amount of work I’ve already put in, the final illustrations will be easier. Thank you Mariana for the encouragement! And since it was my first dummy and I don’t have a lot of illustrations in my portfolio (yet), the sketches needed to be pretty finished to give potential publishers/agents a better idea of what the finished illustrations would look like.
So whatever happens, it’s all good.