Thinking with a pencil
My studio table and floor is disappearing under pieces of paper and chapter five is well under way. Writing and illustrating a book has its own pace and momentum; you have to keep a part of your brain connected to it or it’s hard to pick up the threads again. On the other hand, twelve hours at the drawing board (including umpteen cups of tea, hanging out washing, raids on the kitchen and periodic dips into facebook of course) are about as much as I can manage. As well as being immersed in all things to do with rivers, lakes and reservoirs, the first few chapters are now coming back from the typesetters for editing. I have an ambiguous view of seeing the proofs, my haphazard layouts transformed into professional looking pages. Just don’t ask me if it’s any good or not, I haven’t a clue! Encouraging phrases from publisher and consulting editor ping into my inbox from time to time, so I’m assuming I’m on the right lines.
Here’s my take on how salmon are able to find their way home from the Atlantic to their home river: Caption is ‘Right, what’s our postcode?’
Meanwhile, my Wednesday art class has a few weeks to go until the end of term so we’re spending time drawing outdoors for the last few lessons. This week a good time was had by all in Sandy Haven. Everyone says they find sketching from life daunting, but the results were so much fresher than labouring to copy a photo, in spite of challenges like the strong breeze and bright sunlight. Mike had an unusual obstacle to overcome whilst sitting sketching a bank of wild daisies. A family of six came and sat between him and his scene, laid out a rug and had a picnic, obscuring his view without appearing to notice he was there. That’s a marvel in itself; Mike is a tall and imposing presence and had never experienced total invisibility before. Challenges aside, a good time was had by all – call me single minded but you can never do enough drawing. Sketching, after all, is just thinking with a pencil.
That’s enough – brain is not firing on all cylinders tonight, must have used up today’s store of wit and creativity in silly salmon cartoons and duck jokes. Glass of wine, anyone?