Would an illustration by any other name sell and tweet?

'Artist's House' Kate Forman coypright 2008

‘Artist’s House’ Kate Forman copyright 2008

Lately, I’ve been surrounded by several smart women who often refer to the “Secret,” that book made so instantly famous by Oprah. I don’t know that I’m full on board with its premise (though, to be fair, I’ve only ever learned about it via second-hand observations,) but I have always been a big believer in positive thoughts and imaginings.

Along those lines, I also subscribe to the theory that you have to, respectfully of course, shout your wishes out to the universe. It’s amazing to me the many things that seemed to drop into my life the very minute after I was finally able to specifically, and loudly, articulate what I wanted.

What I want is more illustration assignments and a licensing contract so that my images can work for me. Hold on…ahem…


Gotta admit: that felt quite nice to shout out loud. However, I still have a problem, and that’s why I’m writing today: I need more specifics. See, I don’t think — and I’d really appreciate hearing others take on this — that the Universe responds well to broad generalized statements. Mine might not seem so broad, but I’m aware that I don’t stipulate exactly what kinds of illustration assignments, and exactly what kinds of licensing contracts.

Part of my problem is that I never quite narrowed down the markets I think my work is most relevant to, and I’m still struggling to assign the right adjectives to my work. Often people use words like “whimsical,” a co-worker recently described it as “dreamy,” and one reader of this blog used “humorous” to sum up my paintings.

If you have a wee moment, I’d love your feedback:

Thank you in advance for your attention and kind consideration.


6 thoughts on “Would an illustration by any other name sell and tweet?

  1. i keep shouting at the universe that i would like a career plus also if you wouldn’t mind lots of money as well, thank you. so far no luck. maybe the universe is hard of hearing.

    • Girl, I feel you. I think the Universe is a bit on the hard of hearing side…but I’m also telling you: Specifics. I think the universe likes as much direction as possible. Though, admittedly, they also like to tweek the results…you know, like you shout: I want GREEN SOCKS right this instant! And then a few days later you go on a date with a lovely man and he’s wearing green socks. So, it could also be that the Universe is providing you with a career, and you just haven’t peeked under the table and spied it yet…or it could be that you need to get down to brass tacks and spell everything out in great detail. Or…I could be absolutely off my rocker. It’s debateable.

  2. I’m so late on weighing in, sorry! I’ve been away from technology for a bit, and getting back into the swing of things is always a long process for me….

    Kate, I’m totally in agreement with you on the whole Universe thing and about giving it specifics. And I believe there IS a Law of Attraction or something. Like you, I’ve been amazed at the results I’ve gotten when I’ve put my wishes out to the Universe and was able to articulate them clearly and loudly. Sometimes the whole thing’s backfired on me a bit and I have to remember to be careful what I wish for. Like the time I asked it for a children’s book illustration gig and one fell into my lap immediately, I swear. I took that as a Big Old Sign, accepted the assignment, worked my tush off, did my best, helped the author create a mock-up that he could trot out for potential investors, and then… nothing. All that work and no money! I know the author’s good for it, and that when he gets his dream off the ground we’ll both see some financial results. But still. I have to admit to myself that I asked for the gig, not for the money! Note to self: cover all the bases and — above all — be specific.

    And another good idea is to add the words ‘for the good of all’ to the request, so that no one ‘loses’ for your ‘gain.’ (No one needs some icky karma, right?). I keep thinking of that ‘Monkey’s Paw’ story that I heard when I was a school kid, the one where the elderly couple wishes on the magic charm for a monetary windfall, and then their only son dies in an accident resulting in a big insurance claim….

    I think the Universe really does want to fulfill our requests, and we can use that to our advantage if we’re — like you say — specific. I often catch myself throwing stuff Out There, generalized statements that are just spilling out of my mouth because I’m not thinking (“I wish I had more money!” and then a penny shows up on the sidewalk), and I’m reminded that the Universe doesn’t speak the same language as I do, doesn’t understand humor or nuances or something, perhaps, and is trying to fill my request the best it can. I imagine it as an alien life form, trying to understand ‘human.’ 🙂

    Anyway, big thankyous for this post (I find the whole topic fascinating), and I hope it’s not too late to vote on your Polldaddy.com questions!


    • Delayne! Now I have to apologize to you for not responding sooner! As soon as I read your post I had one of those ‘ah-ha’ moments you so frequently give me! Thank you for bringing in the importance of “for the good of all” as an important ingredient in all this. That monkey paw story is burned into my mind too — I think we read it in the 9th grade when life seemed the most unfair to me & I hadn’t yet wrapped my mind around being responsible for my own destiny, or being “allowed’ to ask for what I wanted… More about that teen angst later, though. Meanwhile, I’m so glad you brought it up — I think I’ve been feeling a little heady with the possibilities & needed more clarity: specific details and “for the good of all” need to be included. As I’m writing this I’m also thinking about the importance of gratitude too — I went to a thousand years of Catholic school & I remember a nun/priest/teacher asking our class how many times we asked God for something as opposed to how many times we said “thank you.” Hmmmmm. Gotta admit, gratitude can be hard to keep in perspective when you talk about your un-paid illustration gig though – and other examples when the universe seems intentionally hard of hearing and/or slow on the uptake…
      Most importantly — THANK YOU for all your words and wisdom — you are a true gift!

  3. To add my two cents, I too agree with the whole “ask and the Universe will grant” theory. My experience with this has been more with relationships rather than careers, but again I agree with providing the Universe with as many specifics as possible. (as in not just older and mature, but older, mature, and UNmarried!) In hindsight, it was kind of scary how I got what I asked for each time I asked….and thankfully, I was specific enough in my last request and we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary this September!

    Whether it’s figuring out what we truly want so we know where to focus our energy or it is the Universe intervening to fulfill our latest wish or whim, I think you’re right in trying to narrow down and specify the “request” with as many details as possible. I also really liked the idea of “for the good of all” stipulation and had never considered that angle. I would never want my wish to unfairly cost somebody something dear to them.

    Hoping the Universe hears you loud & clear!!

    • First of all — TEN YEARS. Wow. It feels like only yesterday — seriously, when did time get so much faster? Anywho, yes specifics — and I was just replying to Delayne thanking her for the “good of all” reminder. I agree with your observation about how scary getting EXACTLY what you asked for — especially as it always seems to highlight what was left out of the request. It makes me think of that old maxim (that I think I hear constantly throughout my childhood, but never completely understood till now) “Be careful what you ask for.” I wonder if the original advice included a second phrase: “…and how you ask for it.” Thanks for the blog support!

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