Sunday, August 17, 2008

Building Character

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Although I have never experienced physical persecution, as many Christians in other countries do, I know that even the minor irritations I sometimes experience can be used by God to build character in me.

At work, my boss is the Design & Graphics Editor for the city newspaper, and I am a Contract Graphic Artist there (he and I are the only ones who do the artwork for the newspaper). He is a strict perfectionist who constantly criticizes me and my artwork.

The following are some illustrations I did in Adobe Illustrator CS2, which my boss said were not good enough to publish (or else he just didn't like them). Basically, he gave me an assignment to draw something, then, after I drew it, he said it wasn't good enough. This happens often. The bottom one is a scan of a sketch I did, which he also rejected. A few times he has said that my work was very good, and obviously, many times my artwork has been published (or else I would have been fired long ago), but very often, he says that what I drew is not going to work, or that its not good enough, or that he just doesn't like it. In the case of the illustration of the City Manager below, even though he rejected my illustration, he used a couple pieces of it in his own artwork, and he signed only his name to it. Many times he will have me draw a few items, which he will add to the artwork that he has done, but he will sign only his name to it, and take all the credit. Ah, well, he's my boss, after all, and I am getting paid to do it, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much. Plus, as I said, I have already had many things published under my name. After a while, the initial rush from having your work published starts to wear off and become old, anyway. Fame is not all that its cracked up to be.

Art is a very personal thing, and having your artwork rejected, especially on a constant basis, is frustrating. Nevertheless, I am trying to keep my eyes on eternal things, and not on the things of this world. This job is only a temporary thing, after all. Less than 60 years from now (maybe far less), I will be in Heaven, and these minor frustrations will be forgotten.

Some of my rejected artwork:


pearlie said...

Thanks for visiting over at my end :)

I am sorry to heart what happens at your working place. It is difficult for some to take rejections and criticism and I fall into that category. You handle it very well. But I feel that taking credit of other people's work is not right.

Jeff said...


Thank you for dropping by and commenting!

And thank you for your kind words.

Yeah, my boss is sometimes a nice guy, but his condescending and sharp criticisms really get me down sometimes. However, I suspect God may be using this to teach me not to worry about what people think.

And, his taking credit even when I did part of the illustration might be to teach me to realize that I really don't own anything; that all I have was given to me by God---even my talent.

In many ways, this is probably the best job I have ever had. I have had other jobs that have been far worse. I guess that, no matter how good we have it, some of us tend to complain even if there is only a very minor irritation.

A person with an irritating pebble in their shoe might complain about the pebble bothering their foot. Another person, however, might not even have a foot.

satire and theology said...

Many times he will have me draw a few items, which he will add to the artwork that he has done, but he will sign only his name to it, and take all the credit.

Nice guy...J. Jonah.

Nice art, Jeff.

Jeff said...


Nice guy...J. Jonah.

Nice art, Jeff.


Ha, maybe I should send Spider-Man after him.

My boss saw the 'Dark Knight' movie and hated it, although he did like Ledger's portrayal of the Joker.

Tamela's Place said...

Wow! Awesome art work Jeff! You are a great artist! Explain the last one to me. It strikes my curiosity..

Jeff said...

Thank you very much, Tamela, for your kind words and your encouragement and compliment.

That last one is a preliminary sketch that I scanned in. The fist is above a child holding a teddy bear and represents child abuse. The key with the older child and younger child inside represents latchkey children, who are home alone while their parents work.

Tamela's Place said...

That is very creative! portrays a sad but realistic truth!

Jeff said...

Thanks, Tamela!