There are plenty of resources out there about how to put a price tag on our work. Some metric is lying around out there that perfectly calculates time spent on a project, education and training, taxes (eek!), and just good old fashioned supply and demand (although the truth is, as illustrators, we all offer something completely unique that cannot be imitated, right? Well, at least that’s the life-long goal)

But that’s not the question I’m asking.

I want something a little more intangible, but a lot more valuable. I want something that I will live off of the rest of my life (that’s not imprinted with past presidents) I want learn something about myself and about my craft. I want to be charged creatively, and desire to go to work each day. I want to WANT to wake up early and stay up late getting it right. I want inspiration and challenge. I want to dive into the deeper recesses of myself and find a way to put a little part of my heart on to that paper that will be here (hopefully) long after I’m gone.

Is that too much to ask of a client? Of course. But it is not too much to ask of myself.

Whatever the task, it is up to us as illustrators to discover something new about ourselves and our work, our process, our creative energy. It is up to us to generate or seek out the source of inspiration for our projects.What can I learn from this experience? How can I grow as an artist? What would make this project creatively challenging for me? How can I learn to increase quality and decrease time spent, therefore being more EFFICIENT? When do I work best? When should I stop and rest? The path to this creative balance or nirvana, is loaded with questions. Questions that need to be explored, not necessarily answered once- but over and over again.

Promo note: visit Diandra Mae fellow SCBWI member and illustrator. Her blog hosts “Sweet Squares”, a daily practice activity challenge similar to P3. I love it!

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