Friday, November 1, 2013

PiBoIdMo Begins (and reflections on taking chances)!

So, in a flurry of wordplay, I allowed myself half an hour away from paying projects to jot down some ideas... and WHAMMO... I have a title for a story I have been sitting on, sitting with, and purcolating for a LONG time. Karen Li at Kids Can Press and I were talking about another book idea (sadly dying in the sales team trenches) and I was laughing about the state my family was in. Anyway, she said - you should write about that... and so, I have been, and thinking about all the ways to do it without being preachy, sarcastic or otherwise degrading to my family, (are you getting it might not be a 'feel good' story... lol?). Anyway, starting with an initial idea (that was ultimately lame), I let myself go... further, and further yet, into ridiculousness and past - and lo and behold - there it was. My TITLE. (and NO, I am NOT sharing it!)

As far as my illustration work goes, I have been facing a bit of a crisis... so much work (wonderful) and so much dissatisfaction about what I was producing. It was becoming, 'work'. This is not a reflection on my publishers (I LOVE THEM), but rather on ME... I wasn't pushing. I wasn't having fun, and I wasn't producing work I was really, really, REALLY proud of. You know, the kind of work that makes you want to sing from the rooftops? The kind you dream about, that makes it impossible to sleep till you at the very least, jot it down?

So, I decided to play with this next book (after all, my publisher told me I could)... and at first, i was afraid. TERRIFIED. What if they hated it? What if it made it to easy? What if... SO, I tried it. I played. I did the playful things I admire in other illustrators - and here is why...

At our SCBWI Montreal conference this past October, I spent some time with Laurent Linn (amazing guy and AD at S&S). I had a one on one portfolio critique, but I prepared 2 portfolios... one, filled with work I get paid to do. The other, filled with the kind of work I LONG to do, but end up shying away from for fear of not 'filling' the page, or 'proving' that I can draw. A simpler, playful, textured and 'hypothetical' style - less literal. He encouraged the 'longing' portfolio, to put it out there... and, so I am. I am working on a book - coming out in 2014 with Fitzhenry and Whiteside and I am having FUN. I am allowing myself the chance to explore the 'what if's?' and 'hmm's' that I regularly encourage with my students - after all, if I can't free myself up to explore the possibilities - what right do I have to push them to do the same?
a 'rough' spread for the F&W book (title on side for twitter)

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