Friday, January 8, 2010

Dare Mighty Things

I'm reminded of my time as a young illustrator, designer and ad agency principal back in Austin, Texas. Our little agency was sweeping the annual shows, winning every gold medal there was, CA was writing about us, it was all good we were having fun but not making much money. It was then that I learned that winning gold doesn't mean a whole lot when the rent comes due--if only the award were actual gold! Times got so tough that I had to give up my apartment and move into what was the conference room--my first live/work space--my partners had spouses or significant others to room with thank goodness otherwise we'd all been living in the office. Ramen noodles were often lunch, now I love Ramen noodles but not everyday.

We were really doing exceptional work especially in that market, our clients loved us and we loved them even though their budgets were low--thank goodness we could use lots of illustration which I could do. And we did use photography on occasion but rarely and by far one of my best art direction assignments was actually my first one working with a dear friend of mine for just the cost of film and processing. It was a simple shot of a group of kids our age all friends of ours seated in a living room--the client was a local radio station. I'm not sure exactly how it happened but there was a magic to the image that is haunting even today.

It was during this time that I volunteered to do a newsletter for the local Ad Club, a writer who had seen our work asked if I was interested and I said sure. His name was Forrest Preece--an exceptional writer and an extremely funny guy so working on the newsletter with him was always something to look forward to. We became friends and working on one of the issues he brought me this quote by Theodore Roosevelt to use on the cover of the newsletter that also spoke to me in a special way and has guided my every move, figuratively and literally from that day forward: Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.



  1. This is definitely a good quote for illustrators who just graduated from art school or are just getting into the field. Unless you were lucky enough to have made some good connections early on, it will most likely take a few(in my case many) bad experiences or years struggling before getting that first really great assignment or moment when all the hard work finally pays off.