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…but if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need.
We recently entered the Global Talent Search (GTS) by Lilla Rogers. This is the second year she’s held a contest to choose a new artist to sign. Last year we didn’t enter because we were traveling for shows. I felt so out of the loop with everyone posting their work. I wanted to enter this year, even though I knew it would be a long shot for us to get picked. The creative brief was to draw/paint a Terrarium. Finding that out I knew immediately we wouldn’t pass the first round. I don’t gravitate to terrariums. It’s not something I collect, or have a passion for, and Josh is the same way. Knowing people “buy your joy” (meaning respond well when you draw/paint from the heart), I knew this was not the challenge for us. We still tried our best. I liked what we did, but as soon as I saw sneak peeks of other people’s work, I knew we didn’t push the limits on the challenge. I’m a very literal person (weird for a creative, I know), so when I read the words “draw a terrarium” I got stuck. Again, probably because my heart was not in it. Add in still working on our character style guide, completing 5 new designs for a new licensee (we signed a deal with a company to create Robo Roku tablet/cell phone cases -eep!), and daily life, and that makes for a spread thin team Robo Roku.
999 people entered the Global Talent Search, only 50 could make it to the next round, and it keeps narrowing down to 1. We didn’t pass the first round. The second round is an animal illustration for a kid’s tee, man, I wish that was the first round.
Some people were really sad about not passing, I honestly was sadder about one particular person not making it to the next round over us not making it. It would have been awesome to make it to round two, but since I didn’t expect to, it wasn’t such a huge disappointment. We don’t get individual feedback, so Lilla did a video with a bit of overall feedback for everyone. She said there were many artists she wanted to enter next year, and many that she thought would do better with another agency. I believe our piece wasn’t very strong, but that we are also not a good fit for Lilla’s agency (as much as I wish we were).
Lilla has some amazing artists that work with really cool companies. However, only one of her artists is barely close to our style, and the jobs that person gets is not really the kind of jobs we want. They’re not bad jobs, just not what we want, at least not right now. I love how Lilla’s agency works, but that’s not the place for us. That doesn’t mean we’re not good enough, it’s just all about finding the right people for your style. There are four big licensing tradeshows: Printsource, Surtex, Licensing Expo, and BLE. We fit in best with BLE and Licensing Expo, Lilla’s people fit in better at Surtex. I feel like doing Licensing Expo really led to us finding our people, and I’m excited to keep going on that path. Next year we’ll be showing our work at all the tradeshows we mentioned, and hopefully we’ll have found an agency for the US and UK that works for us. Life can be pretty great when you know what you want, and know how to get it. More than anything getting the most out of life means never giving up.