When I awoke Saturday morning this past weekend, I struggled to remind myself that I am now a published illustrator. Part of my disbelief was due to the fact that I did not (and at the time I am writing this) still do not have a physical copy of the book yet myself.
It felt not unlike a fairy tale in which the princess wakes after a night at the ball to find herself not in a glittering gown, but her usual drab dress. In my case though, I have not a single glass slipper to remind me of what passed the night before.
At the time of the launch party I had planned to celebrate the release of my first picture book, the printer (for reasons not worth delving into here) had only just printed the books such that they had to be expedited from the warehouse to Beaverdale Books. (My own five copies due to me per my contract with the publisher are still forthcoming.)
Thus when I woke the morning after, it felt not unlike a fairy tale in which the princess wakes after a night at the ball to find herself not in a glittering gown, but her usual drab dress. In my case though, I have not a single glass slipper to remind me of what passed the night before.
But while I look forward to receiving my own copies, on Friday night, I found just as much, if not more contentment in witnessing everyone else’s reactions to the work I had done for the past year. It was truly surreal to see my own artwork printed and professionally bound, a kind of ‘pinch me, is this real?’ kind of moment. The best surprise for me though was the joy on the faces of everyone around me. Illustration can be a very personal, if not isolating endeavor so to finally share my paintings with a broader audience felt intensely gratifying.
I later told my mother, who is a preschool teacher that I could finally understand why she gets up every day to spend hour after hour with 4 and 5-year-olds. The look of unabashed excitement and raw curiosity on the faces of the children as I read the book aloud made my voice grow a little stronger and my smile a little wider.
Drawing and painting, it’s what makes me feel alive. But to enliven the inner child even in each adult that sat around the room listening to me read, that’s enough to make even me believe in my own success.
Photos by Emma Croskrey