This has been one of those weeks....a paperwork week. We've all had them, and for me, they always seem to occur exactly when I am excited to get to work on a project. For instance, I've been itching to begin the cover for my next book commission. I have a great composition in mind, and new outfits for a character, and have been doodling thumbnails in my sleep.
And times like these are when my desk seems to become the collective depository for all manner of paperwork and post-it notes.
Someone needs a form filled out. So-and-so made a clerical error that needs to be corrected. Advertisement contracts need to be signed. Follow-up phone calls need to be made. Records need to be updated. Contacts need to be confirmed. This or that document needs to be scanned, emailed, filed, faxed, shipped or otherwise dealt with.
It's a pain. It's also very affirmative.
The thing with freelance illustration is that....*drum roll*...it's work. And so when the going get's annoying, the annoyed must ask themselves, "Is it worth it?" Truly. Are you one of those people who likes to draw/paint/create, is good at it, has fun, and wants to keep it that way? There is nothing wrong with realizing that by making a business out of a hobby, you risk losing the joy of your craft.
But to me, it's worth it. During these times when the business seems to get in the way of the "fun part", an illustrator has the opportunity to come to terms with the realization that her passion for illustration, passion for storytelling, and passion for being a part of something greater than herself is enough to warrant navigating the business jungle. It is through the mundane tasks that I realize that this truly is what I want to do with my life.
Because unlike the hobbyist, no amount of contracts, documents, emails or post-it notes can diminish my heartfelt love of illustration. In fact, it only brings into sharp relief my desire to get through that business-stuff efficiently....so I can get back to the fun part of drawing that new cover art.