PK 050: Artist Derek Rodenbeck on how to Survive Rejection

PK 050: Artist Derek Rodenbeck on how to Survive Rejection 2 050 Derek Rodenbeck 3 podcast feat image

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Like many artists, Derek Rodenbeck has had to learn how to handle rejection

“The more you get rejected, the easier it becomes to do new things.”


You probably haven’t heard of artist Derek Rodenbeck, but you’ll almost certainly be familiar with his struggle to find work and get recognized.

In this special 50th edition of our podcast interviews, we ask the big question many artists ask themselves: “What do you do next if nothing has worked so far?”

It’s a question Derek knows all too well. In our first podcast interview with him, he talked about trying to make it as a comic book artist. By the time of his second podcast, Derek had abandoned this idea in favor of launching a clothing brand.

Neither of these projects were successful, but he’s not about to throw in the towel just yet.

He says: “I’m trying to figure out what to do next – it’s a lot of trial and error and learning how to fail fast. It’s a bit like throwing something at a wall to see what sticks, but I’m determined to keep trying!

“It’s just been a huge, huge, learning experience so far. I just know that eventually something will click.

So what’s the most important thing Derek Rodenbeck has learned so far?

He explains: “I’m not going to compare myself to anybody, because they’re not me. They can’t do what I can do, and nor can I do what they can do.”

Derek Rodenbeck and Determination

Derek talks with refreshing honesty, and his determination is no doubt informed by the numerous books on Stoic philosophy he’s read.

He continues: “After a while I just said to myself: ‘You know what? Just go back to the love of what you’re doing and just keep working.’”

And that’s exactly what Derek Rodenbeck has done.

Although he didn’t exactly make many sales with his clothing brand, LVN UP, he’s thrown his energy into making new comic book art (‘No Panic’ will be published very soon), and launching two more T-shirt/lifestyle brands: Beta Wolf (“Just silly stuff about learning to laugh at life”) and Warrior Class, a brand aimed at American combat veterans.

And it’s this latter idea that might just give Derek the ‘a-ha moment’ he’s been looking for. As a combat veteran himself (Derek served in Iraq before becoming an artist), he’s hoping his personal experience will really resonate with potential customers.

We certainly hope so. After all these failed projects and bad luck (a recent big freelance job got cancelled at the last minute), many of us would be ready to give up making art completely.

But, for Derek Rodenbeck, it’s just another obstacle he’s determined to overcome. In fact, he even claims these knockbacks have helped him become more creative.

He explains: “The more you get rejected or things don’t work out, the easier it becomes to do new things.”

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • How to keep going when nothing seems to be working
  • Why you should stop comparing yourself to other artists
  • How to handle rejection and use it to your advantage
  • Why your big break could be just around the corner

People on this Episode:


Mentioned in the episode:

Derek’s Website
Derek on Deviant Art
Derek on Facebook
Derek on Twitter
Derek on Instagram

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.



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