Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Triumph of Persistence over Rejection


Three years ago when I started out designing greeting cards, I read that there were 3 ingredients needed to succeed in the business. 

Firstly, you must be Prolific, secondly you must be Persistent and thirdly you must be able to take Rejection.

‘Prolific’ is something I don’t have a problem with, possibly helped by the fact that I’m not a perfectionist so I don’t labour over my work for hours on end – not often, anyway!

And the subject of rejection seems to have come up several times recently, both in the Surface Pattern Course and elsewhere on the internet. I have written blog posts on the subject here and here  and Carol Anfinsen wrote about it more recently here.

But what about ‘Persistence’?

Partridge in a Pear Tree
In my case, and I suspect in many artists’ experience, the two, Persistence and Rejection are inextricably linked.

To get almost anywhere in our lives, to reach our goals, to live our dream, we often need to show Persistence when we encounter setbacks. Of course sometimes, ‘Adaptability’ is a more appropriate response but today I have a little example of where Persistence paid off!


I began to design Christmas Cards in the Autumn of 2009 and I submitted some of them to a publisher for feedback late in the year. I love colourful borders and I was quite pleased with the cards I made that I hoped had a slightly mediaeval look about them, with their brightly coloured borders and a lot of outlining in gold gouache. Gouache is not my favourite medium and at that point I was having a hard time adjusting to painting so small; so, as I said, I thought the designs had come out pretty well, all things considered.

But the publisher rejected them out of hand!


When I had recovered enough to pick myself up and try another route – this time the online print-on-demand stores, I uploaded the ‘rejects’ along with a few cards in other styles. After all, I still liked them so I believed that someone else might like them too.

 In the 2009 Christmas period not one of those cards was ordered.

And Christmas 2010 was a repeat ‘non-performance’ as far as these cards were concerned.

In the run-up to Christmas 2011, I sold some of these – all told, I’ve sold 99 of them to date!


But the sale that has prompted me to write this post, to urge you to persist in spite of rejection, was this one  -

I saw Three Ships come sailing in . . .

Last week a Zazzle customer ordered 230 of them and this week a Greeting Card Universe customer ordered a further 125!


So – if it sometimes seems as if you aren’t getting anywhere with your sales, but you feel in your heart of hearts that your art is worth buying, don’t give up. It may take a little time but –



10 comments:

DogBreedz - Pet Photography by Peggy Mundell said...

Judy, I've always been a fan of your colorful, unique style! It's hard to think that others can't appreciate it too. VERY happy to hear of your two bigger sales - congrats!

nadine said...

Congrats for your sales!!! You are right we have to learn that we can please everyone, we just have to find the people that love us :)

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you so much, Peggy!

I've since realised that these just weren't the right style for the publisher I sent them to - we live and learn!

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Nadine - yes, I keep reminding myself that there's no accounting for taste!

Carol Allen Anfinsen said...

Great blog, Judy. Actually I love all your Christmas cards. I think the borders are fantastic. The great thing about the "ships" cards is that they are a year round rather than a seasonal design.

Fantastic for writing any message you want and classical in style. I think your design class also really made a difference in your newer creations.

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Carol :)

Jayne said...

Congratulations on your sales Judy - those are some impressive numbers. Everyone has their different tastes - that publisher didn't didn't have the right taste for your lovely designs.

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Jayne - I think you're right and that it would take the sting out of a lot of the rejections that we artists are subjected to if we could remember that there are a multitude of different tastes!

Betsy Grant said...

Always a pleasure to visit your blog!

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Betsy, and I enjoy visiting yours too, though I haven't had as much time as usual for visiting, while I've been doing the surface pattern course :(