While it was happening I heard the mom complaining a little and asking questions, using words like "beautiful" and "ugly." She didn't say anything directly to me yet, so I kept going. But then she said "It doesn't look like her," and I turned around and made sure she said what I thought she said. She confirmed, and I politely and pleasantly passed her off to another artist. So smooth and easy. I realized that the times when I get worked up about a reject situation are the times when the customer overloads my fragile brow with some weird absurd thing I can't make sense of.
Take for example what happened with these drawings.
As I was drawing the first girl, the mom was whispering to the dad about "What if she doesn't like it? I don't think she'll like it. Good gracious! Do you think she'll like it?!" Thus hinging everything on the reaction of the girl. When I finally showed her, though, she laughed and was very pleased, but the mom kept pushing the daughter in this way: "Are you sure you like it? Why do you like it?" But she didn't budge. She did like it, and her friend got one too, as you can see above. It certainly did come out lame, but it looked a bit like her, I guess, and she also laughed and was happy and satisfied. The customers paid and left and fifteen minutes later the dad came back, dropped the drawings off and got his refund.
The absurdity is thick here. Much too thick. I don't even wanna pick it apart, but I will.
layer one: the word "like"
Like is...not quite the right word when we're talking about caricatures. In the best reactions I've seen, nobody ever shouts out "I LIKE IT! I LIKE IT!" Of course, this customer doesn't know this, but I could address it somehow, if it weren't for the other layers of nonsense I have to wade through in addition.
layer two: she's a child
And the jury is still out on how old a child needs to be before they are able to recognize likeness in a caricature.
layer three: she's a child
So it should be up to you, the parent, not her, to decide if this service that I've just provided is worth paying for.
layer four: who am I entertaining?
You might not know it lady, but this is for you to laugh at. Obviously I've failed, but we could share a chuckle about my failure together if it weren't for this lasagna of nonsense you've baked between us.
layer five: she likes it! you loose.
It seemed like a game back then when you were talking about "what if she doesn't like it?" There was this tension build up, and then I showed it too her, and I got the thumbs up from your daughter, Pontius Pilot. So, if the important thing is whether or not she likes it, and then she clearly shows that she likes it, why push her to not like it, unless your opinion about the drawing matters too, which was actually my position all along.
layer six: the drawing does look like her, if I do say so myself, and the really funny thing was that the daughter was the spitten image of her mother. Somethin fishy goin on there.
I may be leaving out a layer or too, but I've already been talking far too much.
Let me conclude. rejects are no problem. I would be fine with every third drawing I do being a reject, if it could be done clean and easy like that first reject. And while we're on the topic. I have one more reject to show.
I'd classify this as not such a pleasant reject. Let's say the very first one was a ten. The two rejects from the big long story would be a one and this one here...is a three. They were polite and straight forward, but they get a three because the likeness was good and they had a really good laugh. They came back two minutes after they left and rejected the drawing on the grounds of ugliness. They didn't mention the likeness. Had they complained about the likeness, even though I feel the likeness was strong, I would have given them a five, because, ah..you never know. You just never know. It's possible that us caricature artists become delusional over time. Let's try and not though.