A few months ago my friend, Kevin, asked if I would help him illustrate a book he had been working on. The book is based on a collection of stories he had told to his daughter, Clara, at bedtime and over long plane flights to keep her preoccupied. The stories tell the story of “Jalapeña”, an 8-year-old red-headed troll and her human friend, “Raven”, as they go on a series of adventures. Kevin shared his manuscript with me and, although I really enjoyed the story, I was hesitant to illustrate it. His story was epic. It contained a huge cast of characters and creatures and traversed a wide variety of places over different time periods.
“You know”, I told Kevin, “I’ve never done this before!”
“…I’ve just drawn comics…”, I continued, before he could interrupt. “… and, it’s almost a given that my artwork will improve as the book progresses. The illustrations might be inconsistent!”
“That’s okay!”, he replied, calmly.
In that instant I realized that Kevin and I were in the same boat. He wasn’t a professional writer any more than I was a professional artist. It’d be a learning process for both of us.
And then I smiled.
“Okay then.”, I said.
“Let’s do it.”
The experience so far has been nothing short of awesome…
“Are there any tests available yet?”, Jodie asked me.
“No, not yet. I’ll check again tomorrow.”, I replied, discouraged.
“I’m going to forget everything before I get a chance to be tested on it!”, I continued.
“Same here.”, Jodie smiled
It would be almost three months from the point I finished studying for my California real estate agent exam to when I was actually allowed to be tested on it. The testing centers were either closed or restricting the flow of candidates to a small trickle. Thank you, COVID.
Fortunately, I passed.
Over a year ago my wife, Jodie, decided to get her brokers license. She started in real estate over ten years ago right after our oldest daughter was born. She had done really well, too, building relationships and selling and buying homes all over San Diego.
“Well, what if I get my agent license, too? Then I can help you out – maybe hold open houses or something.”, I offered.
I smiled back. In real estate, agents work “under” a broker. My wife would essentially be my boss.
“Unless you have something against sleeping with your employees?”, I smiled.
“Nope”, she laughed back.
So we studied together. Then, after we were done studying, we waited together for exam spots to open up. It took me almost a year. It took her even longer because, to become a broker, she had to prove her work experience, a process that took forever due to the glacial pace of the Department of Real Estate weighted down by COVID restrictions.
Jodie passed, too.
We threw around names for a while and decided on “Vandervort Realty”. Over the years I’ve realized my last name can be a bitch to spell for newbies, but instantly memorable – if only because it’s a bitch to spell. It would be perfect for a company name – as long as we didn’t have to create any musical jingles to go with it.
The company logo proved trickier.
Initially Jodie wanted to go with a design she had found on Etsy, but I insisted on designing one for her. Illustration and graphic design has become my “thing” over the last few years, just as real estate hers.
“I work cheap.”, I told her. “You can pay me in vegan brownies!”
“Deal!”, she said.
We went through countless revisions. The endeavor expanded into a business card, listing sign, and Facebook Page, too. But finally the day came.
“I like it.”, she admitted.
“Really, so we’re done?”, I asked, stunned.
“Yeah”, she smiled, “Well, for now…”
“Good”, I smiled. “You have a lot of baking to do, you know.”
Take care. Stay healthy. Live life.
Vandervort Realty is a family-owned real estate brokerage located in sunny San Diego. We pride ourselves on making relationships, not sales. Our goal is to educate people to help them make the best decisions in any market. For more information you can contact me here on DrawnAndCoded, or visit our Facebook Page.
There are over 1.8 billion websites on the internet and somehow, whether intentionally or not, you landed here. This site is what happens when a middle-aged software developer ( me ) re-discovers his childhood love of drawing.