“Dear Mr. Lee,
Your work looks as if it were done by four different people. Your best pencils are on page 7, panel with agents (lower left corner), and close up of face.
The rest of the pencils are of much weaker quality. The same can be said of your inking. Resubmit when your work is consistent and then when you have learned to draw hands.
Eliot R. Brown
Instead of being crushed by the first sentence “Your work looks as if it were done by four different people,” Jim Lee was encouraged by the last sentence “Resubmit when your work is consistent and then when you have learned to draw hands.”
After making the necessary changes, he resubmitted and below is the response:
“Dear Mr. Lee,
Thank you for your recent submission. Although DC Comics maintains an open door policy and reviews all serious proposals and/or samples regardless of the source, I am sorry to say that your submission does not meet with current DC standards. Sorry.
Yours Very Truly,
Vice President-Executive Editor”
It is interesting that they reject you and conclude by saying “Yours Very Truly.”
Instead of being dejected after the second rejection, Jim Lee was encouraged by the last hand-written sentence at the end: “PS SOME INTERESTING STUFF, KEEP AT IT.”
Rejection. Hurts, doesn’t it?
Some people would have given up after receiving a letter that starts with “your work looks as if it were done by four different people.”
Whether it is a potential client rejecting your proposal for business, a publisher rejecting your first novel, a record label saying your demo is not good enough, or a university deeming you unqualified, rejection stings.
Everyone has been rejected at least once in their life, including famous people you admire.
Before they got the big book deals, fans, movies, and worldwide fame, they faced rejection just like you. Maybe even worse because some of them got rejected hundreds of times. Instead of giving up though, they used rejection to fuel their desire to succeed.
Jim Lee is now co-publisher of DC Comics, the same company that rejected left right and centre. He never gave up, until he got in. He is one of the best comic book artists, he has done the X-Men, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and other notable comics.
Like a baby who learns how to walk for the first time, every time she takes a few steps forward and falls, she smiles, holds on to something to stand up, and tries again. She may not perfect her walk in day one, or day two, but with consistent practice, after a week or two, she will be able to walk.
Can you imagine if we all gave up trying to walk if we stopped trying on our first or second walk.
Rejection is not the end, it is a chance to start again, this time much wiser.
There is a Sepedi proverb which says “Go katakata ga monna ga se go tshaba, ke go tsea maatla” loosely translated, backtracking doesn’t mean to run away/give up, but to regain strength.
Like Jim Lee, focus on the positives, regain the strength, hold on and keep your head on the prize and come back.