Artist Stories Entry – Pebbles Dunn

Ms. Hero by Pebbles Dunn

Ms. Hero by Pebbles Dunn

Pebbles is a talented, up and coming illustrator who still relies on a day job. Below, she discusses the struggle of having to support herself while trying to break into mainstream illustration and work as a paid artist, full time.

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Here is Pebbles’ artist story:

I have been drawing since the age of six. It all started one spring day when I watched my uncle  draw a picture of a spaceship with ease. From then on, I wanted to be as good as he was. I felt it was such an inspiring thing for someone to just conjure up an idea and depict it on paper. I always had my lunchbox full of crayons, and graphite and colored pencils with me. As time went on it went from crayons to markers, from pens to oil pastel, to oil paints and eventually 18 x 24 poster board for the art competitions I competed in.

Flash forward to senior year of high school, I grappled with the fact of what to major in while at college. I had an interest in a few different subjects and my choices were law, psychology, or art. I figured at that time, that since I already knew I was good in art, that it should be my number one choice. I went for it and majored in studio art. During senior year of college I got in contact with popular illustrators, like Garry Trudeau, asking for advice on how to do an internship or how to get my foot in the door after college. I always got the same answers, “There are no internships” and I would have to keep submitting and constantly make attempts to get noticed.  Despite this, after I graduated college in 2005, I had such high hopes and was full of optimism. I felt so sure that I would somehow get noticed, but I didn’t. I submitted my comic Nik & Mike to so many companies to get it syndicated. In return, I received so many rejection letters. My optimism began to slip away and embarrassment set in when I wasn’t getting the support I wanted or needed from my family. People usually don’t take artists seriously and there were times when I would get the “you are not going to make it as an illustrator” babble. People would ask how it was going with the submissions and when I told them I was getting rejection letters, I was answered with cold tension.

Ant, by Pebbles Dunn

Ant, by Pebbles Dunn

As time wore on, I relocated to Massachusetts. Since I was not making any money with my art, I had to eat, have a place to live, be on my own. In the long run, I ended up working in the insurance business. I am making enough money to live, but I am absolutely miserable. Initially it is the same routine of job hopping, trying to find something that you can at least tolerate. I work in insurance, and I get the same question over and over that I absolutely hate when someone sees my artwork which is, “Well, what are you doing here?” I guess they are trying to compliment my artwork but in all actuality I just hate answering that question.

However, on a happy note, I did get my foot in the door. I was able to do a logo for a future dog bakery in Detroit, MI. I sold a couple of illustrations, designed a few T-shirts. Of course, it is not enough to live on. In the meantime, even though the self-concept I have deflates a lot, I still go into my insurance job and do what I have to. The feeling of giving up crosses my mind, but then I instantly become terrified of continuing working where I am. From there I snap back to reality. I do know from the bottom of my heart that God will allow my breakthrough to happen, and I will be that mainstream illustrator that no one can get enough of.

More About Pebbles

Pebbles is an aspiring illustrator who lives in Massachusetts. She has a B.A. in Studio Art. Her main goal is to become a mainstream commercial illustrator. Her mediums are micron pen and Photoshop. To keep in touch with Pebbles, email her at and follow her on Twitter @nikmike74. To view more of her work, please visit her website

The Cock Story, by Pebbles Dunn

The Cock Story, by Pebbles Dunn


2 responses to “Artist Stories Entry – Pebbles Dunn

  1. Pebbles — I saw a post that ‘FAT FOX’ Book Publishers are looking for illustrators. I highly recommend that you submit your lovely work to them. What do you got to loose? Your story is so familiar. One step at a time and keep on illustrating. You are not alone in your struggle As artists we all need day jobs – find one that is complimentary to your temperament as well as your passion for art. Even better if you can find a job that you are equally as passionate about as your art. Yes, it can happen.

  2. *hello* Thank you for the reply, reading the article, and for your suggestions. I will definitely look into Fat Fox. You are correct, if I could find a job that is goes with my temperament that would be great. We will see what the future holds!

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