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I Failed Many Times before I Succeeded– New Children’s Book Illustrator Shares Personal

I’ve made some mistakes in my lifetime, but I don’t consider them failures. After all, some of the best learning comes through mess ups. I put in long hours on this little girl before noticing that I had drawn and painted her lips lopsided. How’d I do that? It’s complicated.


My illustration had other issues, too. Through multiple layers of colored pencil, wax built up until her face wouldn’t receive additional color. Peach skin tone was desperately needed. I applied the color in tiny circles, just as I learned to do on  a “How to” video. The artist on the video made it look so easy. But my work wasn’t anything like his and my efforts to create real looking skin were as successful as trying to water color on waxed paper, an impossible feat.

Crooked lips and blotchy skin were not my first major mistakes. This was my third failed attempt to paint the little girl in an illustration with Xander, the blind pug. The other two painted drawings show her with protruding eyes that nearly pop off the page and skin with a creepy, plastic appearance.

Making mistakes helped me learn how to use Prismacolor pencils and eventually led to an illustration that communicates the value that I want in my new book.


This is my fourth attempt with the illustration of the little girl and Xander. I think I’ll keep her. Finally! She’s everything I’d hoped that she would be.

Failure can be a great tutor when we’re willing to learn from it. I’m learning a lot as I continue on my journey with Xander the Wonder Dog, #1 Pug. It has been difficult getting to where I currently am, but the goal isn’t to do something that’s easy, it’s to complete a book that I hope will touch the hearts of children.

Currently, I’m working on an illustration of Xander visiting the same little girl while she’s hospitalized following an accident. This is exactly the sort of work that Xander does. He has a God given gift of comforting children and adults during some of their toughest days.

©Pamela Koefoed, 2018

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