Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Everyone's a Critic

I've just had a very unprofessional micro-argument with my wife over my last post. She wanted to know where on earth those horrible drawings came from, and made it clear that she could hardly even believe I had drawn them. Of course, I can't see the problem and thought they were rather good little samples of illustrative line-work.

According to the most fundamental advice doled out to budding writers, partners are not best placed to comment on your artistic doings. They are supposedly as incapable of objective observation as mothers, being entirely preoccupied with the need to live a harmonious home life, protect your feelings, earn breakfast-in-bed privileges, etc.

So how come mine missed the memo?

But, you know, I'm glad she did, because there is one very good reason why those closest to us are actually important as beta readers/test audiences/drawing slagger-offers: they have to live with the fallout if we get it wrong. This could be financial or professional, but perhaps most serious are the psychological consequences of seeing a loved one lose perspective, head off down a dead end and then come off the rails in a sticky heap of depression and self-depreciation (cof). It's surely worth a little short-term ornament throwing (sorry) if it forces another look at even those things we think we're getting right.

My wife doesn't know much about children's publishing. I'm trying to develop an illustration style that appeals to twelve-year-olds, and frankly she doesn't have a clue how to do that. However, she's quite right to make me look again, because perhaps I don't either.

Thank you, you:)


  1. I liked those line drawings but I wasn't thinking in terms of your career.

    My husband is also good at giving me his honest insights and opinion. Guess he missed the memo, too. But we are lucky to have them, all right.

  2. Thanks, Terry. We certainly are.

  3. You're welcome!

    PS: It might not sound like it, but I am nice, really... (even though I know nothing about children's publishing, and even, come to that, Art in general ;)

  4. You know nussing! But you are very very nice. Actually, more than nice, but let's not embarrass everybody...


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