This happy photo of my youngest grandkids (and our agency ‘research assistants!’) reading together, yet totally engrossed in their ‘literary worlds,’ just pleases me SO much! Isn’t that why we all of the children’s market do what we do?
I also can’t help but to picture lots of creative minds working endless happy hours to write and/or illustrate the very books our children get engrossed in. Those endless hours can also bring a very serious price however : PAIN! In my 23 years as the agency owner, I’ve seen various injuries with our artists. Back issues certainly from long hours slumped over drawing boards or computers. Eye strain is common from intense close work as well….remember to blink and look away now and then! More recently one of our most popular artists has experienced debilitating wrist and arm overuse injuries from a combination of traditional painting and digital movements. She’s now slowly healing while cutting her working time and doing PT, but it’s been really difficult for her. Whatever the pain or the cause, an artist must take care and LISTEN to their bodies. They are one of your MOST important tools.
Pain is protective. It happens to tell/warn you of a problem and hopefully make you pay attention. You need to keep the body stretched, rested, hydrated and happy. Even if you have a tight deadline, stop the activity that hurts before it becomes a bigger problem. Take meds and rest. See a Doctor if it persists. PT might even be necessary. All better than ending up unable to complete the project and commitment, and possibly ruining your reputation.
That leads me to another problem for active artists: over-booking! And this can lead to physical problems of course. It is a great temptation to take all the jobs you possibly can on going. Time is money! So you schedule too tightly with often multiple jobs overlapping. some of this is fine if all goes well. You CAN do a small educational job, or maybe a short story sketches, while you wait for a client to ‘turn’ your sketches on a trade picture books finishes perhaps. But if one or the other gets delayed with revisions or clients schedules, then you can find yourself up all night or nights!! and talk about PAIN! Be very careful about this temptation to over schedule. Having to call clients to rearrange due dates can cause them stress and often money. That doesn’t make you very popular no matter how fabulous your work is!
Try to be respectful of your time and commitments and your body. Handled wisely and well all will work out for you MOST of the time for years and years of a happy productive career. And my grandkids, and I, thank you!