These Successful Creatives Experienced Rejection Too

Rejection isn’t a foreign concept, especially for starting creative professionals. We’ve all been there at some point. Even the most well-known and successful creatives have tasted ‘defeat’, and in the craziest ways at that. You didn’t think they’ve had it easy, did you?


Creatives all over the world have had their share of mishaps before basking in the limelight. Listed below are some of the world’s most successful designers and artists, writers, and visionaries, among others, who have had their ‘visions’ unbelievably rejected.


Paul Rand


In 1966, well-known American graphic designer Paul Rand experienced what rejection feels like when Henry Ford II said ‘no’ to the Ford logo design and noted that the presented logo was “too radical”.


Walt Disney

Before we all knew about Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney had his share of rejections, 300 to be exact, before anyone invested in the character we all ended up loving.


Vincent van Gogh

Even one of the most celebrated painters was ignored at one point during his first decade as a painter. Out of the 1,000 paintings he did, he was able to sell only one, titled ‘The Red Vineyards’, for approximately 400 francs.


Steve Jobs

One unbelievable comeback story is that of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. His story starts together with Steve Wozniak when they co-founded Apple Computer in 1976. Initially, Wozniak and Jobs planned to democratize computers by making them smaller in size and a little bit friendlier to the common user. Even after being demoted from Macintosh, Jobs was reinstated as Apple’s CEO in 1997.


J.K. Rowling

The author we all know and love for the Harry Potter phenomenon got her other novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, rejected by multiple publishing companies under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. One company even recommended for the acclaimed writer to take a writing course as if she needed one. To work as inspiration, J.K. Rowling shared two rejection letters on her Twitter account.


Dr. Seuss

Before his 44 published, best-selling books, Theodore Geisel, or Dr. Seuss as we know him, experienced rejection around 27 times for  “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street’.


Louisa May Alcott

Along with the other authors, Louisa May Alcott, known for ‘Little Women’, tried to work on ‘Little Women and Werewolves’ before her publisher asked for her to remove the werewolves from the story.


Andy Warhol


Andy Warhol, the famous American pop artist, was turned down by The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1956. He tried to give his drawing ‘Shoe’ as a gift to the museum, but was rejected with a letter that says how the museum “…did not have space for it”. MoMA now houses 168 pieces by Warhol.


Tim Burton

Tim Burton tried to propose a children’s book to Disney in the late ’70s. It didn’t push through, but that didn’t stop him when three years later, Disney hired him as an animator.


Jim Lee

As a comic book artist, Jim Lee was rejected by giants Marvel and DC before he was eventually hired as a cartoonist by the former in 1987, started his own publishing company in 1992, and eventually moved with the latter in 2010.


Creativity is always appreciated, so no one should be disheartened even with rejection. What matters is you try your best and constantly try to improve! Take all pointers to mind and make it better. As working creative professionals of MicroCreatives, its developers, designers, and writers are resilient and will never cower from one or two rejections. We take rejections and obstacles as motivation to try harder and explore more.