Painted on pastel paper with gouache and crayon. I will use both gouache and water-colour in the new book, and will paint on soft white Fabriano paper, using fine brush line with sepia water colour for the outlines of the figures, as I can no longer get the sepia drawing pens I used to love. However, having to improvise sometimes produces new effects, which in themselves can produce new ideas.
Neither “Finn and Ella” nor “Finn’s House” feel right as a title for the new book, I still think of it as “The Snow Book” even though it is definitely set in autumn. Went walking today looking at trees and leaves and the disintegrating heads of the greater willow-herb down by the River Leet – trawling for images as I went along. Wool-gathering, but all part of the process.
Maybe I’ll try sending out new book out to publishers, or even approach an agent, which is how I sold my work in the past, most of it anyway; but will keep the alternative option of printing 500 copies myself under the Moonwuzo Books imprint – that will give me the energy to do the work properly.
The boxes full of copies of The Midnight Hare are slowly emptying. If I had published with local publisher Serafina Press there would have been a set-up whereby distribution would have been much easier, as the groundwork had already been done by the MD of Serafina, Jennifer Doherty. But the other side of the whole caboodle is that I would have missed out on the having ownership and experience of the process. Swings and roundabouts. I am enjoying the ride.
Quite a different experience from working with large publishers, which I have done much of my life. I have the feeling I may never go back into that world, but who knows?
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.