How To Turn Down A Project

  • SVS OG

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    Art by Braden Hallett

    What do you do when you can’t take on a project? How do you make sure you don’t burn bridges when you say no? This week, Jake Parker, Lee White, and Will Terry discuss saying no to projects, as well as graphic novels, comic books, and master studies.

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  • SVS Instructor Pro

    Oh boy -- this is timely! I literally just had to do this with a book project.
    Not an easy decision to make, but important in creating a healthy work-life balance!

  • Reminds of months ago when I had to turn down that job on Upwork because the price did not match the content of work on a work-for-hire contract. I lost my chance to get some money, but if I value my art I know how to price it.

  • SVS OG

    Thanks for this episode! I have had to learn how to turn things down recently because I participated in the SCBWI portfolio showcase, launched a website, and suddenly had a lot of self-published author offers. While a couple looked decent, the majority did not. I'm not entirely against self-published books, but I actually think that, as a beginner, I need an art director, and there's also the whole opportunity cost issue.

    I love your ideas of starting with a short story or magazine piece to dip your toe in narrative sequencing. Great tip!

    Also, Hugo Cabret and The Arrival!! 😍

    Now from the sublime to the ridiculous-- @Lee-White, you started this!--I have a whole concept called bathroom tourism. Turkish toilets and unisex facilities not withstanding, bathrooms in Europe can be very stylish, and if I'm in a public place, sometimes I take photos. Favorite touches include a glowing plastic sink (it had a light source inside it somewhere), industrial tubes for the hand driers, black toilet paper that matched the walls, all kinds of shimmery tile and modern fixture shapes, and exposed brick walls. When I travel back to the US, the contrast between the sinks at Schiphol or Charles de Gaulle (those flat sinks that elegantly drain in the back!) and those at Hartsfield-Jackson or LaGuardia is just disappointing.

    Anyway, here's how one restaurant in my town handled the fact that knowing where to flush can be a bit confusing:


    One day, when women architects rule the world, there will be much more toilet availability. Any woman who has ever tried to make an intermission bathroom run at a concert venue will understand how urgent this issue is and how inadequately it is addressed. Now, back to drawing!

  • SVS OG

    @Jake-Parker @Will-Terry @Lee-White

    I used to listen to your podcast through my Alexa device but Alexa has switched to getting its podcast from Amazon music and your podcast is not offered through Amazon music. Is there a way that you could put your podcast on Amazon music? I don’t know what it involves and if there is a cost, but if it’s not too much trouble, it would be great to have it available again on my Alexa.

  • Aww I was looking forward to seeing your Bart Simpson and Charlie Brown drawings but the YouTube video is just the cover image!

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    Took Jake up on his challenge. Here's Bart Simpson, Charlie Brown, Mickey Mouse and Sponge Bob drawn from memory.

    I would say I nailed it!

    Edit: 5 min later, after actually looking at drawings of these characters . . . Yeah, I definitely did not "nail" it. (These all look like the bad Times Square street performer knock-offs)
    SVS Challnege.jpg

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @davidhohn Those are MUCH better than mine. My charlie brown looked like a serial killer.

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @Lee-White Ha! It was crazy when I actually looked at CB. I would have SWORN that his eyes were set far apart! (Turns out they are not!)

    Post your serial killer version!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @davidhohn I don't know if I kept it. I'll see if I can find it. I literally drew it on a form from the IRS. I throw any letter from them away! lol!

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @Lee-White A serial killer version of Charlie Brown drawn on a missive from the Internal Revenue Service that you chucked into the garbage . . .

    Feels like there's a metaphor for something, somewhere in there . . .

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @davidhohn lol, maybe so! haha!

  • Hooo boy, here are my no reference cartoon icons....I am much ashamed, haha.


    I am most ashamed of Mickey Mouse. I was such a Disney kid growing up, why could I not remember how to draw him? Fun exercise.

    I liked your tips about turning work down though, it's very important to be able to keep things in perspective--is this worth a year of your life and turning down other work for?

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  • Absolutely loved this topic guys, and thanks for answering my question as well 😃

  • That was a good episode I wasn’t going to show mine lol but since y’all have been so brave here goes...

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