An illustration from The Fierce & Gentle Wolf. I used white neocolore crayon over paint to create the mist rising from the ground. All three of the recent books I have been involved in working on have children lost amongst trees. I like walking in woods rather than in open ground, the trees this time of year are interesting to look at, changing colour, and more sparsely leafed; and the bark grows beautiful lichen. I am starting to collect images here and there for Finn’s House.
Sent off seven more copies of The Midnight Hare to children’s bookshops yesterday, the next batch will be to local concerns. Sad how many local bookshops have closed over the last few years, I check everything now, as these shops disappear from the High Street. Sad how many businesses have closed, indeed. This year I have decided to do my Christmas shopping as far as possible through actual shops, not on-line. Found a wonderful shop in Peebles that sells Russian boxes and hand-painted brooches, and started my shopping there. The gemstone and fossil shop had closed, but had opened, quite recently. My husband said “That’s a strange-looking shop,” and we went in – it was a cornucopeia. Worth a visit. Gustaf’s Studio and Gallery.
Children’s bookshops seem to be flourishing, though. It is a strange business, the book trade, it seems to change all the time. My knowledge of it at this point in my life is nada nada nada. But there seem to be some really beautiful and interesting books being published. I have some reference books and a couple of novels on Kindle, which is superb in manyu ways,but reading in this way is a completely different experience to opening a book.
I love the picture book form, one can put quite a lot in there, under the radar of High Art concerns; whilst trying to make something that looks and feels aesthetically pleasing.
An illustration for “The Fierce and Gentle Wolf” that has some of the autumn colours that I am going to use for the story I have been calling The Snow Book, but which has transferred itself to autumn, and is now called “Finn’s House”, though I am not sure this is what it will end up being entitled. The text is finished, as far as it is ever finished at this early stage.
I look at this illustration to the Wolf Book and wonder what on earth is that little green bird doing at the bottom of the picture – I can’t remember that particular variety, it looks like a budgerigar. The next book will have siskins and goldfinches in it, and a barn owl – but nothing that resembles a budgerigar.
Sat down just before our evening meal to do something that fills me with trepidation, that is I decided to upload a system to sell on-line. Much to my amazement, after leaving the computer on and eating the meal, cooked as always on Saturday night by my husband, I return and find the program seems to have inserted itself OK, so now the task for tomorrow is to upload some substance; starting, of course, with The Midnight Hare, but then adding other books that I have either written and illustrated, or just illustrated, which were published by Serafina Books (have of course okayed this with the owner of Serafina Press, editor and also author, Jennifer Doherty); and to add to the jollity, will have some of my Northern Alphabet Postcards and Berwick Bear cards on offer. It will take me a day or two to work out the manner in which I should do this, and I shall intersperse my efforts with feeding the birds and playing solitaire and picking sweet peas… la la la, what a nice life I lead… I would love to get someone else to do all the IT stuff, but one of the reasons I started this project was to LEARN.
There are hosts and hosts of things I should have been dong months ago, including publicity and setting up e-commerce, but I was so involved in finishing the book and getting it to the printers intact, I disregarded these other matters, and am now at somewhat out of sync. But never mind, the printers, Martins in Spittal, just over the water from the main town of Berwick upon Tweed, have done a really nice job with the printing, without bankrupting me, and the fact that I like the look and feel of the book as an object is one of the most important things of all.
Had some good days vis-vis The Midnight Hare – a friend wrote and said she liked it more than anything else that I had done; and this morning I went into Kelso and saw a gallery-owner friend, Tony, who offered to sell the book in the Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery (process already started apparently), and has put quite a reasonable picture of me holding the book on the gallery Facebook page. And one of my first young readers, aged three, apparently wanted the book read again immediately (which I am told is unusual for him); and was very taken with the giraffes.