Slowly, but surely, the finished illustrations for A BED FOR LITTLE CUB are getting done. The book and pictures are starting to take on a real life of their own.
Getting off to such a slow start always brings to mind one of my favorite quotes that I came across about 40 years ago. It really does sum up my feelings toward illustrating.
The quote is from the Introduction written by Patricia Meyerowitz for Gertrude Stein’s famous book: HOW TO WRITE:
“I was talking to a friend the other day and telling her how difficult it was sometimes to get down to work. She was so surprised. She thought it was easy and assumed that as all artists love their work all they had to do was just do it. I explained to her that it wasn’t like that at all. It takes so much effort sometimes just to begin and although going on is mostly a pleasure it is also a great effort. And no one cares whether or not you do it. No one asks you to do it and mostly no one wants it when you have done it and although as a creative artist you accept that it mostly has to be like that, nevertheless it is hard. She was surprised.”
It can take me an inordinate amount of time to get started, really get started, on the finished illustrations for a book. The writing part comes easily enough (perhaps I am a more confident writer than I am illustrator) but when it comes to cutting the watercolour paper, laying out the crop marks, pencilling in the composition and then start painting…can take me forever!
I will admit that once I have broken through the fear of the unknown the painting generally goes well and is actually quite enjoyable. Just so long as I don’t torture myself and worry about making mistakes!
Someone once told me that I am a perfectionist living in a imperfect world and it’s slowly driving me mad. I’m almost there. Being mad, that is.
I am happy to report that so far I am pleased with the finished pieces for the book on the drawing board. I’ll try to take some decent photos before I take the art down to NYC and not see it again for a year or so.
Meanwhile…if you’d like to check out a non picture book that I wrote (and did the cover illustration for) go to amazon and look for: 4″ by Gabe Hooton. This edgy coming-of-age novel is based on my own journal that I wrote when I was 17 years old. It will give you some insight into how my muddled (at times) brain works. 4″ is written under one of my pseudonyms to avoid confusion with my picture books. Besides, Gabe has his own voice as a writer.