I'm going out for coffee, and I shall take a blank dummy book and scribble down a new idea, something that Alexis and I have been talking about in the last few days. It's one of those that need pacing and calculating before creating characters and words.
People sometimes ask if the pictures or the words come first when I make picture books. In fact, generally the concept comes first, then it's maths - working out the actions that will make up the narrative and pacing them onto 12 spreads or thereabouts - and when that is worked out, I'll cast some characters to act the parts, then I'll stage the whole thing on paper, with rehearsals, mistakes, and surprises, note down the dialogue, and in the end it's all edited and tidied up a bit, and it's a book.
And in-between, clever people tell me when it's not working as well as it could.
What does not really happen is that I start with a character, or a bit of writing. By the time I write or draw, there is always a structure in place that wants to be filled.
I thought you'd like to read this if you're the sort of person who feels daunted by the idea that you're supposed to make meaningful stories out of characters, characters out of thin air, and improvise from scratch. I used to find that daunting, now I know it's just not the way I do things. I don't draw for fun, I draw when there's something that needs drawing. I make things up for fun all the time, though.
Off to scribble blobs and numbers into a blank booklet for an hour or so!