It is a slow process, the editing of a book. I am working with an old friend who used to type up manuscripts for a publisher. She is brilliant and her attention to detail exceptional. Every line I have written for the first book has been questioned. It is so good for me. I am learning a lot.
Part of the journey to write my children’s fantasy adventure is to illustrate it myself. We are all good at something and terrible at other things. I had always believed that I was hopeless at drawing. I readily confess, I am not great, but the recent scribblings have surprised me and I am beginning to believe that I might even get away with adorning my story with my humble sketches.
I have found a style that I like and an approach that I enjoy. For me, watercolour with a pen outline is perfect for my book, Splidge, the Cragflinger and his adventures. I do not want to be too prescriptive on how he looks and the cartoon approach seems to fit. It is very reminiscent of Quentin Blake, but I do not think that is a bad thing. I hadn’t set out copy him, it just happened that he using the same materials and our styles are coincidentally similar, and there are plenty of others that are also the same – so who is following who?
I am still at the learning and practice phase as far as my art is concerned. I don’t suppose you ever become fully satisfied with your own work, but I am slowly getting better and to the point where I would feel comfortable with my pictures appearing in the final printed book, as well as versions of them for e-books too.
I have always doodled, like many people do, but not really spent much time trying to perfect the imagery. Now I am and I am encouraged by the nice comments and feedback I have been getting when posting the silly cartoons on Facebook and Twitter. All good fun.
The aim is to have the book ready by the end of January 2014. A second one is to follow and I am writing that in between the art practice.