Developing a Thick Hide

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Title: Developing a Thick Hide
Creator: Vel Jaeger
Date(s): July 1981
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Topic:
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Developing a Thick Hide is a 1981 essay by Vel Jaeger.

It was printed in Stylus #2.

Some Topics Discussed

  • communication
  • ego
  • perseverence

From the Essay

[Regarding the essay's title] - I assume the thick hide is intended to be developed on the part of the artist, and not the editor. A fact which any fanartist (and pro, too) must accept is that no matter how great their talent, somewhere there exists an editor who can't stand their work. No matter how technically correct, or artistically inspired the artist, the work must ultimately be subjected to the evaluation and prejudices of an individual. A study of what this process involves might clarify some of the reasons for acceptance/rejection of your work.
If the Ed is looking for an action scene of Spock wrestling a denebian slime devil, she's not going to be too thrilled to get either (a) a head-only portrait of Spock or (b) the Enterprise floating majestically in space. Some will allow you total creative control, to draw whatever you damn well please. But usually if you're assigned a story, the Ed is expecting something which graphically depicts an action in the story. Stylistic portraiture is fine, but as a rule only for short poetry.

With so many variables to be considered in judging zine art, is it any wonder that no one can predict just what will appeal to or repulse an editor? But what do you do if you are certain you have an irresistible style, perfectly executed,immaculate, and are appropriate to the subject? You might write

off the editor as an insensitive clod, who is obviously ignorant of fine art, and kick the furniture in frustration. You could vow to climb to an isolated mountain peak, where you would paint in solitude till the world recognizes your incredible talents. When all that fails, you work at developing a sense of perspective. Consider each rejection on the basis of its specific importance. Will your career as a fan artist be ended if you don't get published in that particular zine? Hardly! But if you're that determined, try again with another style and/or subject.- you won't have an illo accepted if it's never submitted. Follow upon those who never reply at all - often samples get lost in the mail or in the shuffle on an Ed's desk. And you'll never grow as an artist if you don't keep learning - even if only teaching yourself. Every pro artist I know still takes workshops, seminars, etc., to improve their craft. Constant improvement will help in building what many artists are accused of having anyway - a colossal ego. It's not a requirement, but self-confidence helps when you pour your life's blood into a project and then say, "Look, everybody, I think this is good!" You have to believe in your own work to present it to the public.
Now that you know you're the greatest gift to art since acrylics, don't give a damn what anybody says about your work, and do only what you feel like and to hell with the rest, you've probably developed a sense of humor along with the perspective, and see just how ridiculous it is to give yourself an ulcer over something you cannot control - such as editorial whim. At this point I can positively guarantee you'll be inundated with work. Nothing brings on an assignment faster than ennui! Eventually you'll find people with whom you mesh perfectly, understanding and producing exactly what they want. And occasionally there'll be those who rave in ecstasy over your least scribble. But best of all, you'll be doing v/hat you really want to do, and that makes the effort worthwhile and the agony a dim memory.