March Hedge a gram
This is my March hedge a gram and I'd like to tell you all about what's
happening in my life as a professional illustrator. I'm hoping some of you may
consider working on a big creative project or at least plan on doing one.
I have spend a great part of the day discussing my Easter book idea with my
editor, Margaret. As usual, my idea seemed fabulous in my mind, great, written
in longhand, a little less great once typed up and "needing some" work when I
viewed it through Margaret's eyes. She is a superlative editor, because she
knows how to bring up a point without seeming critical. It's as if one's book
idea is like a beautiful field covered with new snow. A few animals tracks are
charming not as nice when it's crisscrossed with people tracks and snowmobiles
and no longer pretty at all if the snow gets dirty and mud splashes on the
whiteness. When Margaret makes a suggestion it's like soft little rabbit
I say all of this in a jokey way, but if you are just starting out as an
illustrator or author it can be really devastating to be criticized, and hard to
recover. It's a delicate balance between listening to good advice and having
the courage of one's conviction. Even as a published author I've had some
criticism that made it seem difficult to go on.
I like to work fresh, first thing in the morning, then I'm peppy and full
of the energy I'll need to correct any wrongs and sort everything else.
I am looking forward to painting different varieties of rabbits; lops,
dutchs, angoras and others in my book. If anyone has a photo of their rabbit,
that is clear and characterful I would enjoy seeing it. If I do use it, not
copy it but use it like I would a model, I will put all about it in my newsnotes.
For once, the time I'm taking to write and dummy up the story coincides
with the time of year in New England. Even though it is 14 degrees outside and
we are expecting snow, our witch hazel bush is blooming yellow sprays of flowers
and it was still light at 5:45 in the evening. Spring is coming.
I am taking a lot of long runs this time of year and I like to think about
names and border ideas as I go along. There is something about mindless
exercise that helps me puzzle out my stories. When I get to the art, it's a
different matter - it all just flows. Maybe you are the opposite and feel like
your writing is stronger. Whatever your style is, wouldn't you agree that it is
exhilarating to see characters form and events propel them.
Lastly, we just came back a trip. On a trip to Namibia in Southern Africa
we tracked a bull wide-lipped or white rhino. My husband Joe took video tape of
it, and I am excited to show it to you combined with a "How to Draw a Rhino" art
lesson. Some of the unusual creatures we saw were; a rare python (it was
small), a rock python (it was large), two beautiful leopard tortoises, one very
large, a rock dassie or hyrax who deserve to be in a book someday plus a
breeding herd of easy going desert elephants, black faced impala, always
beautiful and birds, birds, birds! We saw over 150 species of birds including
some huge raptors and my favorite, painted snipes. Painted snipes have long
legs, long bills and beautiful colors which are surrounded by a black outline so
they look like they are out of a coloring book.
Here's a fun fact. Scorpions glow when illuminated with an ultraviolet
light. In Africa we went out at night and saw the bright stars in
constellations. They look vibrant when one is away from town and city lights,
and, as if putting on a show of their own, iridescent little scorpions shown on
the ground and peeking out of their holes in trees.
Happy reading, happy creating,