Monday, February 9, 2009

A big thanks..

I'm really touched that each one of you have taken the time to leave your thoughts here. I'm contemplating it all.

Anonymous #1 - I hear ya, but I also hear to do what you love- do what comes naturally- don't force a style. I love to draw. Collage would be forced. I love Eric Carle- I grew up on him and Brown Bear - was one of the first books I bought to raise my daughter on. I'm officially educating myself on Tomie dePaola- as he seems inescapable. If I do simplify- it will still be with a pencil.
Thanks Alicia,Jill,Sam(using my own words against me! - way to get me all teary) Aja, Sherry,Cyn,Becky and Jennifer- you all gave me such wonderful support.
Anonymous #2 - you do bottle that confidence and sell it, right?? Can I get it online?

Lewis -I should have drawn a picture of me flipping them the bird.

Gina- @ such an exciting/ tiring time- really- thanks for writing. I take what you say to heart - I'll keep scribbling along.

I don't know what the next step is- but I won't stand still for long. Gotta go with the flow of life or it'll run right over you.


AWells said...

You are my inspiration- a mentor or sorts- we all get knocked around sometimes... you'll bounce back hard!

crystal driedger said...

I'm shaking. Your last blog post was so honest and open; the story you told was so vivid that I saw myself as you, having paid to fly and attend such a renowned conference, coming home in tears and eagerly anticipating crawling in my own bed to hide.

I've always resented when people tell me to change my style (it has happened to all of us, but not at that scale I'm sure). My agent spent a couple of months getting me to redo my portfolio before she took me on and I'm really not sure it's pushed me to get more work... I sometimes feel like each time I rework my portfolio I'm getting closer and closer to that "Britney Spears" style of art and forget how I used to draw. I do wonder, though, is this the price we pay to become an illustrator instead of a fine artist? I know I'll have to update and change my style again in the next couple years and that thought makes me rather sick to my stomach. I'd rather it come out of inspiration than critique but then again we all get blessings in really weird and awful ways.

I have no advice for you. Just lots of digital hugs and hopes for you to follow the good advice instead of the bad reviews. It's true that you're more likely to remember the harsh words than those that helped you stay in the industry this long in the first place, even if they are out numbered.

Good Luck!
Your work is elegant.

- crystal

ps: Don't do collage... that's not your style at all. I would in fact say that trying to copy Eric would be a silly thing to do considering your drawing capabilities.

Anonymous said...


Sorry you are down in the dumps, but it is time to get up and get back to it! Personally, I think your work is awesome!! And don't dare let three opinions determine your worth or your marketability as an artist. You have great talent, and with a bit of tweaking, you are going to be a great illustrator.

What I see in some of your work (from a childrens illustration standpoint), is a lack of focus. There is so much going on that you have more than one "story" happening. The cafe and girls with the geese are good examples.

Better illustrations are your "clique" horses, the little oriental kids at the pond, the girls listening to the story in the "Doodling is productive" post, and the little girl playing dress-up with the monster. There is a central story, and everyone is reacting to the same element. Your beavers on break is one of my favorites, but with maybe 2 or 3 less beavers in the image, (or them all reacting to the shrimp eating beaver), it would be better suited for a childrens book.

Please know that this is not meant to tear you down further, but allow you to step outside of yourself to see what directions you need to take to meet your goals in illustration. It is a long journey, but those of us who persevere through the tough times will eventually come out on top!

Finally, read this. Might make you feel better, too!

Anonymous said...

This is my first time to your site. A friend told me to come take a look because like you I am trying to get a childrens book published and I'd be inspired. At first I didn't want to respond, but to be honest I am pretty disappointed. There is no doubt that you have mucho talent. You are both amazing technically and creatively. But what I am dissapointed by is how quickly you crumbled. If you have been at this as long as you say you have, I would think you have come across these types of critics before. This might be unpopular to the rest of the people who responded, but it is about your art(will it sell books), not you.

I am also surprised by the responses you have gotten. Are any of these people published or successful? You are an artist trying to produce something for a business. Big Business. This means that you need to listen to the people who are doing the publishing. If they say your style is not what is wanted now, change, wait, or move over. Or create art that will be hung on someones wall. These are the people who print books. They are only interested in what sells now. So if you really want to be published, you need to do what they say. Change. You don't need people telling "stay true". Give me a break. Don't you think these people would sell out the minute they are given a chance?

You say your art is you. Well, when I look at who is successful, they have all had to alter their art, or change who they are at first. I doubt many "stayed true" to themselves. That's why there are soooo many of us not published. WE ARE ARTISTS! WE WILL NOT CHANGE WHO WE ARE! THE WORLD MUST CHANGE TO FIT US! What a load of crap. The way i see it is get published, sell a bunch of books, then start pushing your style. Think of how many artists have done that.

I say stop feeling sorry for yourself. Are you trying to be a fine artist or trying to publish childrens books. Decide what you want. If you want to be published, change. If you don't you'll remain one of the millions of struggling artists. I will continue to visit because I do wish you success, but I hope there are fewer of these types of posts.

Kelly Light said...

OK Anonymous- If you wanted to make your point you did. But FIRST - this is my blog. This is where I share MY experiences. I didn't have to post about this- but did- which was not easy to do - because editing out the bad experiences and only posting the good would be insincere and dishonest to anyone reading this and to myself.

So there will be posts about whatever I go through and if you don't like it- FIND A BLOG YOU DO.

I have not been at children's publishing long- 2 years actually. That's written here in posts you may find more to your liking - or not.

Having worked in licensing for a decade I know what selling out feels like- walk a mile in someone else's shoes buddy - not everyone's gonna sell out and not everyone's gonna set their sites on publishing with the same goals in mind as you. Someone woke up and put on their cranky pants.

I can take constructive criticism but I can't obnoxious people on soap boxes... move on.

Oh - and I wish you success too.

Kelly Light said...

Oh and PS - would the anonymous please - not be anonymous.

sam said...

Let's have a WOOP WOOP WOOP For the Kelly girl !
take that Anony mouses!

Tom Barrett said...

OK, I'm coming out!

I was the first "anonymous", not the second. Hard for me to be honest without worrying that it is taken the wrong way. Meant what I said with the best of intentions. Hope it helped.

Can I still come back?

Kelly Light said...

Tom - please no worries, like i said if it's constructive; I can take it. It was the last anonymous that bothered me.

Kelly Light said...

Tom - please no worries, like i said if it's constructive; I can take it. It was the last anonymous that bothered me.

Gina Perry said...

I tried collage once and I wanted to tear my eyes out - but now I know what I really don't want to do!!! I had a feeling I wouldn't like it but followed someone's suggestion.

Sorry you're having to police your blog. That's what happens sometimes when you ask the world for guidance - it's not like you don't have a very strong internal compass guiding you. Sometimes these moments are a good thing b/c you get back that fire and fight that says YOU know what's best.

Brian said...


You know I have nothing but crazy respect for you and your art. It brings me joy to look at it. You know what they say about opinions...

You keep taking the constructive crits and dump the rest. Most critics are just that because they don't have any real talent, nor do they put their heart and soul into something and put it out there for the masses to say what they will.

You are awesome, certainly not perfect (who is?). I say keep plugging away at it. I want to read the Hippo Detective to my children some day.

Lewis and Noelle Nowosad said...

A-well-a everybody's heard about the bird
B-b-b-bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, the bird is the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, well the bird is the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, well the bird is the word
A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, well the bird is the word
A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a don't you know about the bird?
Well, everybody knows that the bird is the word!
A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird's the word