It's not easy dealing with a project or a commission that's fallen through. Or if you've submitted to an open brief and you didn't get it. Especially when it all sounds so positive and then you get a call or an email saying you're not the right person for it or worse, when you don't hear back from them.
Sometimes you have to get on with it, see it as an positive experience and learn from it. There are always other projects so don't let it get you down.
Jo: There's been a few times when I've had people asking me whether I'd be up for a project and naturally I've said yes. Sometimes I never hear back from them. And I've not chased them up either because I know that perhaps I wasn't the right illustrator for them. Things like this I never take it personally, if you can't handle criticism or rejection then I'm afraid you're in the wrong profession! Seriously. You can't always please everyone. So as long as you enjoy what you're doing that's all that matters. If they've given you feedback then that's great. Take on board on what they've said and just continue to produce amazing work.
My view; chin up and move on!
Erica: Sometimes being an illustrator is a lot like dating, in highschool, it leaves you feeling insecure and upset from time to time. You may have interest in joining a show or a collaboration and get pumped on the idea of doing something exciting, and then be turned down or, as Jo stated, ignored. The rejection and sometimes the humiliation that follows is less than desirable to say the least, but you have to remember that there will always be another opportunity, another show, another project. There are tons of illustrators out there competing for the same jobs and projects, this massive pool of talent gives art directors and buyers the ability to be highly selective in whom they chose to work with. Their choices are based on a variety of things such as style, execution, materials, commercial appeal, etc and obviously not everyone's work is going to fit the bill for a lot of projects. It's not a slight against you, or your talent or abilities, it just means your "look" might not fit into their vision, or maybe someone else executed an idea in a slightly different way that may appeal to their audience more. You can't take it personal, if you do, you are more than likely going to fail. Most of us didn't get A's on every assignment, or always get picked first in physical education, or get that job at the Burger Hut when we were 14, but these setbacks didn't slow us down or break out spirit. We moved on and grew from them. Take every rejection as an opportunity to perfect what you already have going for you, as an invitation to take on a different project, and as a lesson in where your illustrations fit (eg. editorial, cutesy, political, fashion, textiles, etc.).
I ignore most of my rejections because typically something else always works out down the line, and often it's even better than what I rejected for. Have faith in yourself and your ability. Have a competitive spirit but don't let failure consume you. You chose illustration because you love it, so don't let something that is inevitable weaken your determination or blindside you.