act 2, scene 3

Saturday, August 16, 2008


an illustration for a fashion-ey logo/business card that I've been working on

This blog has been a lot about dogs and cats, about big skies and glittering water, about longing and sadness and big, huge, heartbreaking love and not much at all about a designer gal's life in a tiny seaside village. It's that heart on my sleeve thing again - my heart eclipses all else ...

So today a little update from the teak topped desk of designer gal. Wink.
Earlier in the week I called customer No Uno to see if I could drum up a project.

Me: Hi ! just wondering if you have any projects a brewing for me to work on
Customer No Uno: Hmmm, let me see ... how about some very traditional Christian, religious themed photo frames - a collection
Me: 10-4

Camera pans across a very messy teak topped desk complete with a gigantic & beautiful 24" imac. The designer sits madly drawing with a mechanical pencil on tracing paper, kneaded eraser and fine black drawing pens nearby. She's drawing tiny little miniature frames some with oval openings, lots of ornate crosses and doves and hearts with words like Faith and Love and Rejoice. Handwritten script spells out biblical quotes she's researched online. She then scans four little pages of tracing paper, each crammed with miniature drawn concepts, attaches them to an email and then she waits ... and waits with bated breath.

It's anybodies guess with this particular company how things will fly. Often I send out pages of drawings that make my heart swell with pride - I love them so and they barely look at them ... dismissing them with a swoop of hands. Other times I think to myself Oh no, No 7 on page 4 is tres ugly, don't like it, I hate to even leave it with all those other good ideas, it's ugliness surely spreading around the page. But I leave it (always) ... just in case. Sure enough they love No 7. It's their favourite. I've been working with customer No Uno and the same woman for nearly 7 years ... and it's feels like a crap shoot every single time.

End of day Friday the phone rings

Customer No Uno : Good job Susan, lets go over these thumbnails
Me: Sure ! heart beating a little faster and still with bated breath
Customer No Uno: OK Page 1 - this one, and this and this one and Page 2 - we love this and that and this one too. Page 3 - draw them all !! Page 4 - this one and that. Great job.
Me: Excellent !! Merci Madam !! and to myself 1, 2, 3, 4 ..... 18 frames total.

Designer gal hangs up the phone and immediately gets out her calculator - 18 x per frame final drawing rate - click, click, click ... click, click ... cha-ching, cha-ching !!!

Me: to myself Good Job !!

Don't get me wrong, it's not all about the money - I absolutely LOVE what I do, and it never seems like work. It's just that money = security (not to mention - vines trimmed, trees chopped, mortar pointed, chimneys swept, wood ordered, plumbers paid and kitty litter bought) ... and Mama's gonna sleep tight another night. Sigh.

12 comments:

  1. Susan,
    Thanks for checking out my blog and commenting on my photo. I always appreciate feedback.

    I really enjoy your blog. You have some great photographs as well. Thanks for giving us a "day in the life" of a designer. I often dream of being self-employed. I'm sure it is not always great, but it sure does sound fulfilling.

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  2. ((smiling big)) I am so happy for you!! =) I think this is a piece that you needed amongst your heartbreak. Was the sample you posted yours? I really, really like it. I can't wait to see more. You go girl! I chuckled at the calculator part...cha ching! ;-)

    I hope you have the most beautiful weekend you've EVER had.

    Much love to you!
    **hugs**

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  3. Hey, that's great news! It's so satisfying when all your hard work pays off, literally.

    I admire self-employed people very much. I only lasted one week as a freelancer because I couldn't handle the insecurity of not knowing where my next paycheque was coming from or whether it would be enough to pay the rent (groceries, car insurance, nsp bill...). I think it takes a lot of strength and belief in oneself to take that jump, and to be successful at it. You should be proud of yourself. :^)

    Have a great weekend.

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  4. Morning, Susan...Very, very cool! I know how that feels...just after submission then when they talk, talk, then when they love it. It feels GOOD. Money is GOOD too, like you said it buys food and handy men.

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  5. It must be so hard to reconcile creativity with making a salary - I don't envy you that. But congratulations on your new designs being well-received!

    Love the pics of the pets. :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  6. That is really great news! Yay! I loved hearing all about it! :D

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  7. I wanna see these frames!!!!!! Do we get a peek????

    Cora

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  8. Hi Cora, I'm afraid until the frames are manufactured and on the shelves of various dept. stores they must be kept under wraps. Top secret - I am sworn to secrecy. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

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  9. good job Susan.... always feels great to be on the right track and to make some sales....

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  10. Big congratulations! I know only too well that feeling. I once did a theatre for a client with quite costly velvet fabric on the seats. I did the calculator exercise when I got back in the car. So much fun, that.

    But, if you ever figure out why they often like your least favorite one...please clue me in! That's so often the case with so many artists. The result of right brains working for left brains, perhaps?

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  11. Susan, you're an inspiration to me! I would love to draw to make money. I design but it;s very corporate--hard edged. but now i have my own agency too so I hope more of that type of art projects come along somehow.

    You are so talented. I hope you show us some of your ongoing work here with these cards.

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