Friday, November 30, 2007

I Need More Hours In My Day

I'm working on a little fairy-tale tonight, after finishing my drawings for the day.

You know what I'd really like to do? Put together a book of brilliant things, collecting drawings and paintings and stories and more... ooof, picture books are a lovely medium and all, but sometimes it's frustrating to shoe-horn every single idea I have into 12 spreads in full colour for toddlers. - I'd like to stretch my legs a bit... Then my sideline projects wouldn't be so sidelined any more - I often have exciting ideas that I could just start on and make something, but I know I need the time to chew on a picture book concept instead...
I wasn't even all that into picture books a child, but instead obsessed with anthologies. Ah well. Grumble. Passing moods.

I'll stick that fairy tale into a box to start a collection, maybe one day it'll just be enough to be a big book of many things!

(Of course there's still the comic project, but I won't trust it to not morph into a picture book before I've seen it printed.)


Realised today that I haven't used ink in ages. Whoah, what a relief. Must remember to switch media now and then.

And some doodles...

Back Scratching

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rose Umbrella

Hmmm, I haven't done all the writing I meant to do today, but I found a really nice SF radio episode on the web, "Tunnel Under The World", see Sidebar.
I think I'll re-read Puss in Boots (am going to base a new story on it) and eat chocolate and take notes.

My Gran died two days ago, and I am thinking of her - I just found a picture on the web of an umbrella I would love to have and I am wondering if I'll ever see it on sale, and thinking it's the sort of thing I could have sent her a picture of and she'd made me one for Christmas, that is, when she was a bit younger.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Crayon Shopping

Gosh, it's a surprise busy day. Must go and get some boxes of crayons at once, because Alexia is visiting in the afternoon to do some crayoning together.
And I need to eke out some time to put down notes for a story... I thought this morning that I need to do some projects that don't involve me coming up with stories because it's just too slow going, it always takes months before I get a concept ok'd for publication. So I thought: why not illustrate a classic? And then: Why not write a story based on a classic? And now I am inspired again.
It's not that I can't come up with anything myself, just that I find it hard to come up with things that publishers agree four-year-old children would like (and their parents, I guess). It's a complicated business.

Off I go into town then... very swiftly since it's GREY out there.

Ah, and as you see, I've decided to mix typed and handwritten entries depending on whether I happen to be at the computer or somewhere else at the time...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Play Pen

A copy of Martin Salisbury's latest collection of new children's book illustration came through the door this morning (Alexis' work is featured in it, hence).
I've been looking at it for ages... I've never seen so much illustration I loved in one place! I normally don't like illustration collections, but this one - Colours and shapes and lines... paint and ink and papers... like beautiful flowers growing after a big grey rain.
Looking at it makes me so happy I'm almost sad!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Waking Up in November

Go and see This...

I've heard some of it beforehand and it's brilliant.
In fact, go and listen to "The Wicker Cat" on his myspace page, do... (there's one called "Fish You Were Here" as well which I wrote the lyrics for, I remember the first time I showed them to someone he said "I'm glad to see other people have trouble writing things that make sense, too" - Hah!!!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My First Home Knitted Jumper

...modular knitting rocks!
Knitting with chunky wool rocks extra.
This is going to be my new jumper.

Monday, November 12, 2007

So... Yeah.

Am a bit sleepy.
Last night I was sleeping unusually soundly and comfortably until at midnight someone ran the lamp-post outside my window down. It folded right into next door's front yard. At one, the carbon monoxide alarm malfunctioned. Around two there were bright flashing lights and the noise of the lamp-post being sawn down. At some point the burglar alarm downstairs tripped. Now here I am scribbling cats without much deep thought.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Now that my desk is set up comfortably I am spending time on the web again... and my first grand discovery is LIBRIVOX. A growing collection of free audiobooks read and donated by members of the public. How good is that??? Am listening to "Bartleby the scrivener" right now with a canary on my shoulder and have "Dracula" downloaded for the afternoon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thinking about dogs

I'm still thinking about dogs...

When I'm working on a new project and thinking very hard I tend to do a lot of drawings that are not at all like what should go in the book... very realistic and detailed, or intensely scrawled, or just plain hairy, sometimes I think about a character for two hours and keep working at the same picture while I'm thinking so in the end it's cross-hatched almost through the paper. Some of them are quite awful, some are rather nice. None of them are ever in perspective.
I've almost learned to not show these drawings to publishers, but sometimes I forget... I always find them interesting myself because they show creative process.
I've had emergency meetings about them sometimes, when publishers call me in and have photocopies of them prepared covered in notes and white-out because they think I've gone dangerously off the rails.
Or people look through my sketchbooks and pick these drawings out and say things like "Wow! This is so much better than what you normally do! Much more mature work!" or they say "This is almost a good drawing, you just need to learn more about line!" (often about the same drawings actually) or "That looks a bit raw art, I don't like it if you do that" - And I go "Arrrgh, they aren't... they're just for me! - Go away!!!!"
But I still find it important not to edit my sketch-books for presentation, I think that would lead to me throwing things at the wall.

I've noticed that a lot of professional illustrators I've met have sketchbooks completely devoid of such things, instead just sketches that any publisher would accept as roughs that aren't inked in yet, or interesting yet non-threatening exercises in style. Maybe it's because I don't think in pictures.

Anyway, more dog-thinking now.

Red Wool

Hmmm. Woke up happy and looked out of the window. Had coffee in bed reading a lovely book and watching the birds have a morning flight. Then I walked across the room to find my desk ready for work. This is a contrast to waking up in the window, being stared at people having coffee on the terrace next door, and then getting up, falling over some books and bumping into my desk which is already covered in birds, and more books. I like this new room-layout.

I need to do some serious sketching work today, and later on I'll maybe knit some more squares towards my new jumper. Although I need some more shades of red for it... I think I'll ask people for balls of lovely red wool for Christmas, so it will be different reds all over...

I'll blog sketches later, haven't hooked the scanner up yet.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Lots of Space!

So now I have space for crayons and paints and paper an glue and ...

Also I promised to paint a duck. Here's my first attempt. Hmmm I wonder if I'll paint a background...

Art Spam

Aaah quick go and look at this lady's work... She's been turning spam emails into art. I want some of them as posters.
...Helga likes the new setup. She's exploring, and decided that the CD player is a good place to sit. She is very curious about where the music comes from... just then she was hopping from one speaker to the other, putting her tiny head against them to find out. Hah. - It's so NICE in here now!

Ready for the Grey Days

It's been chaotic days... the huge desk that was so high that I had to work on a converted barstool has left the building. It took two men to carry it out in four parts, and it still tried to decapitate them on the way down the stairs.
When it was gone, I suddenly had space to put up two sensible-sized desks instead, one just for drawing, and I changed the rest of the room around so taht now half of it is my bedroom and the other half is the studio. It's amazing. It's like a weird dream... I drew a whole book on that desk, and the book before that I drew on a coffeetable sitting on the floor, and the one before that in pieces, on other people's sofas, mostly. Now it looks like for the first time I can draw a book in a studio-setup that looks like the sort of thing I imagined when I first started working... I might even get some extra shelves for art materials!
While sorting through the studio we found a tub of pastels which I shall clean later today... I read they can be cleaned up by shaking them in a jar of rice.

I also started knitting a jumper while fretting about the layout of the room... I found a book in the library about "modular knitting" and it's great fun, just knitting neat little squares and triangles and then assembling things from them. Which means that all the bits of bad knitting I do while trying out odd wool or patterns I don't quite understand I can just edit out, and just sue good pieces for the jumper, hooray. I think I'll end up with a patchwork blanket of bad samplers as a bonus.

Anyway, no knitting now, trying out new desk arrangement instead. Computer works, check!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Nothing going on

...nah, there's nothing going on at the moment at all. For example I'll have lunch in a minute and then go for a walk in the park, and in the morning I knitted a wash-cloth because, well, I'd run out of wash-cloths. In the afternoon I'll do some work and then I'll have dinner.
I like it when nothing goes on, bit boring for you though, quick go read BoingBoing or something.