Not being an artist, I knew I’d have to hire one to illustrate each card in the Mixed Emotions deck (there are 60). At the time, a friend of my former husband’s was just beginning to represent an artist who appeared to be quite talented. Though I had misgivings about working with him, I convinced myself that what was best for Mixed Emotions wasn’t necessarily what was best for me.
The contract with the artist was set up in a way that enabled him to receive a monthly income while dedicating himself fully to my project for a year. Over time, it became more and more evident that he wasn’t going to deliver. By the time I finally pulled the plug, I’d paid him more than $50,000, which, of course, I never got back.
I learned a couple things:
- When I have misgivings about something, I don’t talk myself out of them anymore.
- I needed to be the one to determine how each card was illustrated, not the artist. Which means that I needed to tell the artist what grief looks like. I needed to tell the artist what exhaustion looks like, and so on.
- To do that, I’d need to brainstorm with a very creative group of friends. More on that later.
I still feel sick to my stomach when I think about losing that much money. Imagine how I must feel writing about it.
Embarrassed. Really, really, really embarrassed.
May this cautionary tale, and the very existence of Mixed Emotions, prevent you from making the same mistake.
*Kris Wilste’s illustration for the “Embarrassed” card from the Mixed Emotions deck.
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