Welcome to my new blog; where you'll be able to follow my journey being part of The Lightbox Gallery's, new children's book retrospective, Escape To Wonderland. 7 Aug-2 Jan '11. Please feel free to leave comments and ask questions. Prints of my work will be made available. And you can also book me for workshops and talks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ready, steady, Go... Go.... I said, GO!

I've been merrily bumbling about with this new book. Despite the fact I'm writing it, and theoretically have control of the thing, I seem to be having more problems being decisive than with the others. Perhaps it's BECAUSE I'm writing it, I'm having the difficulties.

It's been a very 'stoppy-starty' project, which hasn't helped focus my thoughts- I started working with my Pooshnoozle character whilst on my MA, but a veritable plethora of obstacles have meant it's only been recently that I've started working on it again seriously.

On one hand, I know the book will be a far more well-rounded project now than it would have been had I gone straight into working on it from my course. I think I understand picture books better now, and I think the story is more solid. On the other hand, I've built up my expectations of it and freaked myself out a little. I thought working with an outside author was stressful- you're always worried as to whether you're living up to their expectations. However I forgot what a terrible meanie I can be to work for! I beat myself up daily!

I don't expect the pieces here will look anything like the finished book- at least I hope not, since they're sort of all over the place... They're more an initial train of thought, really; A starting point. You can see the main thing I'm trying to solve is background versus foreground.

My natural instinct is to always create a mega detailed piece of work. With Ollie and Pooshnoozle, it's very important though that the characters aren't competed with too much. The story is very character-centric, and the emotional interaction between the two is the priority. BUT, I do want bits of intense detail... afterall, that's what I love drawing. Balancing the two issues perfectly is going to take some more work, I think.

Regardless of how successful (or unsuccessful) these pieces are, how much I mentally slap myself upside the head, and how far I've got to go, I'm loving every minute of these types of problem. It's quite rarely that I can allow myself the time to properly work through something, and I'm really, really up for this! Afterall, this is the most exciting stage of a project. It is pretty terrifying, but the possibilities as to what this book could be are completely open to me; even more so than with 'Lively Elizabeth', and 'George and Ghost' because it is completely mine... Cripes!


  1. Liking these drawings muchly - placement of star on jimjams in first pic is rather suss, are you making a comment about 'poo stars'? :)

    I can sympathise with doing a self generated project, been working on my graphic novel project for 3 years and haven't drawn anything yet! Only started it because I was sick of compromising for other people and wanted something 100% me - forgot how lazy and easily distracted I am. Trying to fit it in between jobs and constantly undermining myself and shelving it, only to dig it out again a few weeks later and write another few pages. Think I'll spend the weekend just trying to a couple of interesting panels from sketch right through to final inks to give me a bit of a morale boost.

  2. I can't wait to see this book when it's finished, Cass. Those pictures look great! No more beating yourself up daily--or if you must, make sure you make it up to yourself with tea and biscuits afterwards. xxx

  3. I really like these, Cass. What percentage of the finished page is digital? You seems to have hit on a very pleasant mix of old and new techniques.

  4. haha, Alex T. And what would you say if my answer was 'yes!'

    It is tricky. I think the problem is, whenever there's a break in the project, my ideas about how I want to do it change.

    Can't wait to see your graphic novel though, so shall I come around and beat you up daily too?!

    Claire, thanks lovely. I make it up to myself far too much. Hence the ever-expanding derriere!

    Thomas, thanks. That's what I was aiming for- another thing I've been really working on, so I'm so glad you said that. I think I've been going too 'computer' recently so I wanted to pull it back. It's easier in my older kids work to do this as there's more pencil there in the first place. I'd have to work really hard for that not to be the main thing you see. With minimal pencil I find it's far easier to overdo it on the computer without noticing.

    With these, I'm working pretty much (computer vs. traditional) as I did for Lively Elizabeth- doing the majority of drawing and colour by hand. However, I've used different handmade finishes to create different effects. I've layered up more stuff than on L.E. All the piecing together and layering... and the real hinging of the project is done in the computer though, so I'd still say the finished piece was 50:50, but perhaps a slightly quiet second 50!