I was starting to feel like I was in a rut around year 7 of my freelance illustration career. I still had a steady stream of regular clients, and new ones popping up from time to time, but some of the Evangelical Clients were starting to wear on my nerves a bit. I started asking myself questions like “Am I creative and talented, or am I just the affordable alternative?” Perhaps I was just getting work because I was willing to work for substandard rates, and had no problem with tight deadlines. A lot of self doubt creeping in around this time, and I was looking for other outlets for my creativity.
I took a few life drawing courses at our local community college, as a way of jump starting some enthusiasm for art again (if you recall, this was what started this whole freelancing career in the first place). I started oil painting on the side as another outlet. I started a short lived poetry magazine with my sister (see separate post for details).
On the positive side, however, I had a somewhat high profile children’s book project for a better known author (Helen Lester, see separate posting), and still had several textbook assignments for St. Mary’s Press (but with no airplane ride for consultation this time). And a new client jumped on board, which seemed at the time like a ‘one time only’ assignment, but in later years would grow to be one of my long time regulars (Llewellyn, see separate posting).
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the last full year of working with traditional art materials. A change was coming in the following year that would help revitalize my career, and bring me kicking and screaming into the future.