Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ooh hello, do you come here often?

Erm... well, no not really, now that you ask!

Ok, so it has been a WEEEEEE while- My appologies. Do I have a note from my mum? No. Did I have some sort of dramatic accident involving the loss of limbs? No. Do I have a fist full of very poor excuses? You bet your sweet left butt cheek I do! Well, alright, it's more one bigg-ish excuse and a couple of small and feeble ones, sort of flapping about ineffectually. However, it's all you're getting, so be satisfied!

The smaller ones involve the invasion of parental units, a decidedly unappealing incident involving my dog's anal glands (parental units unlikely to return for some time...) and a new-found love of getting down and dirty with sweaty fella's during MMA (mixed martial arts)

Yes, People. Yours truly, everyone's (second... or possibly third) favourite short arse has finally found a hobby. And that hobby has 3 rules. The 1st; Do not talk about fight club. The 2nd; Do NOT talk about fight club. The 3rd; Wear clean undies and just a splash of summat nice... (well, we're not animals...!)

I can now kill an assailant, utilising an array of horrific manouvres, and cackling all the while in a manner MOST evil. HUZZAH!!!*

*However, all postures do (of course) require my wannabe assailant to be

a) Asleep
b) Unconscious

c) Dead

in the moments prior to my attack. Since, quite frankly, I'm not all that good yet!

Anyway, when I've not been flouncing about, attempting ninja kicks (and looking uncannily like Winnie The Pooh attempting the high jump) I have been working on my BIG excuse.

That is, that I have been bashing away at this here second book- Currently sitting at Hodder, awaiting their and the authors' approval.

Now, I know you were all probably expecting a blow-by-blow account of the books' high's and low's during the process- particularly since I bent your collective ears so intensely, and so regularly, about the last one, but it didn't transpire to be particularly easy to do so.

I'm not quite sure why. I guess it all seemed to come together so fast. I suppose that really is the difference between working on first and second books i.e. The nerves- As the time period on the two books was pretty much identical.

It's been easier to have the confidence to 'switch off' when I'm not working too, and therefore blogging hasn't been at the forefront of my mind. With 'Lively Elizabeth', I was so paranoid that if I gave myself the day (or even evening) off, everything I'd worked on, and all the progress I'd made on the project, would go 'poof!' into dust. When I physically couldn't look at photoshop any longer, blogging was a good way of letting Elizabeth know I still had one eye on her!

I've still had wobbly moments with 'George and Ghost', I do think that's part of being a book illustrator. Like the person that goes into the office and has occasional problems with their colleagues, I'm never going to get along with my characters ALL the time. However, knowing the process involved this time, and the knowledge that I HAD now done this before, made the rough patches much easier to deal with. It also made the many, many good and exciting bits all the more sweet!

Anyway, I'm sure I may yet fill these pages with anxiety, woe, joy and hysteria, concerning our dear George and Ghost. The feelings of un-ease and 'over-tired-toddler-ness' that arise waiting for publishing approval are still rampant- Will they like it? What if they don't? These feelings thrash about, holding hands with my general control-freakiness, obsessivenses and sadness of seeing a project almost finished. There's always a period of mourning for me, afterward. Not to mention, THE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN! What'll I be working on next? And, when?!
Until I get that approval, I also can't show you too much of what I've been working on. Here's a couple of rough character sketches I did at the beginning of the project though.

Eventually, what I'd like to do is show you a piece from beginning to end. I've been inspired by watching the process unfold, over at Lynne's blog*, and I'd love to do a really condensed version of how things work 'about these parts!'

*Incidentally, if you haven't already seen that Lynne's doing an exhibition in Manchester, all the details are on her blog too- can't wait to see it.