We are often asked--and we often wonder--what careers our young authors and illustrators went on to as they grew up, so we were thrilled to hear from Rachel Stanley, one of our published illustrators and authors from the early 2000s. She gave us permission to share her letter to us with you. If you'd like to see what work she is doing now, you can visit her website. And, to hear about what publication in Stone Soup meant to hear, read on...
Fourteen years ago, my childhood dream of being an artist officially came true when my illustrations were published in Stone Soup magazine. To this day, I owe so much to the magazine for the way it helped launch my artistic career.
Submitting to Stone Soup was one of the best decisions I made as a young person. At the time I was just excited about getting my name and work in print, but I never could have foreseen the long-term benefits it would bring me. The magazine made me a better artist and a better writer, because each rejection forced me to work harder towards being published. It was one of the many factors that drove me to be an illustration major in college, and to this day remains a source of inspiration for me. I've kept every printed copy of Stone Soup I ever received, and to this day I love perusing the wide variety of styles and skills that are showcased in the magazine.
The first check I ever received was for my illustrations of "The Flying Angel" in 2003, and to my 11-year-old self, it was really a big deal. I was even more thrilled to have my story "Diver" and its accompanying illustrations published in the magazine in 2004. But to my surprise, Stone Soup has continued to net me benefits long after I passed the submission age limit. I've been able to maintain connections to the art community through following the magazine online. In the world of art-and especially illustration-connections and networking are everything, and I've been excited to reconnect with Stone Soup online and through social media in more recent years. Making a living as an artist isn't easy, as I've found out, but Stone Soup is one of the things that encourages me not to give up on my dreams. I have even found some of my fellow Stone Soup illustrators enjoying exciting and successful art careers as a result of what was begun years ago with their publication in the magazine. So thank you, Stone Soup, for what you have done for me and for so many others. I hope that many more generations of aspiring authors and artists will be launched to success through their connections with you!