Ok, another "off schedule" blog you know this one is going to come from the heart :)


This morning I got the classic "shit sandwich" email.

Hi Seth,

We'd like to thank you for taking part in the ILM Art Department Challenge and say Great Job! 

Unfortunately, you did not make it to the next phase of the challenge – but do not feel discouraged.

We were blown away by everyone's “Moments” for the first challenge. You all stepped up. You tried something new, and hopefully, learned a thing or two. From that perspective, this challenge has already been a success. We hope you had fun and will use this experience to further your growth as an artist!

Getting yourselves out there and taking on the Star Wars Universe is not easy. So much of what we do is about persistence and having the drive to keep at it regardless of what seem like setbacks, and you all showed great passion for what you do. We expect you to keep working, hone your craft, and continue creating.

Introduction, Thanks, Bad News,Encouragement.  We have all seen these letters before....they tell you nothing except an overwhelming


It's funny how you can read a form letter and only hear the bad parts, right?  It wasn't written directly at you, but have you ever felt the blow softened by those "The competition was intense" and "We hope you keep trying!" phrases?  I never have.

I'm not sharing this to complain.  I'm disappointed, sure, but these things happen.  I'm sure the competition WAS intense.  I did learn things doing this.  I'm no worse off than I was on May 8th when I decided to do this.  I'm sharing to show you that this happens to EVERYONE, from the newest students to Spectrum-Nominated artists.  Rejection is a part of this business, and you need to get used to it as early as possible.  Like the samurai of old, you must go into battle prepared to die, for only then can you fight without the fear of death overcoming you.

The other thing to remember is more information about why or how they made their decision won't help you, or make you feel would probably make you feel worse.  It's natural for everyone to wonder WHY bad things happen.  Why did your boyfriend leave you?  Why did you not get the job?  How many people did you lose out to?  That last one is my achilles heel, and it doesn't matter. ILM selected 317 people to continue, and I'm not one of them, regardless of if I was 318 or 999th on that list. Competitions are hard, because they force you to do what everyone tells you not to do - compare yourself to other artists.  You tell yourself you're not going to, but it is inevitable. The less information you have to that, the better.  I am VERY happy that ILM made this a closed, secret competition, so, outside of a few friends I know who submitted, I don't know what other people's work looked like.  I ran the best race I could, it wasn't what they were looking for, and now it is time to move on.

Like the election results of this week, I'm disappointed, and I'll need a little time to grieve.  Whenever you can, give yourself that, but keep looking forward.  You are not the results of a job interview, or a competition, or an unfavorable review.  Also, this is why you paint because you love painting, not for the possible results.  Even though I didn't "win", I had an incredibly good time working on both pieces, and that's what I can carry with me to the next thing!

For me, next week is the Illustration Master Class, and I am incredibly excited to be working on a piece for that.  If I'd passed this ILM challenge, I would have had to derail IMC to work on a Star Wars piece, and that would have actually kinda been a having the time to work on my battle mage will be pretty cool.  

My plan for next week's blogs is to post process stuff and talk about IMC, and I hope you tune in for that :)

Also, I didn't reach the 2nd round, but my good friend Lyle Moore did!  You should totally check out his work, he's amazing, and a great guy.  I'm really excited for him to keep going, and I wanna see the cool stuff he makes :)

Thanks for reading!