Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Children's Book Illustration: Best Job in the World?

When I visit schools, I tell the children that I have the best job in the world, because all I have to do all day is draw pictures, but I'm afraid that is less than the whole truth. This week so far I seem to have done nothing but admin.

On my desk I have a long to do list. If I don't write things down, I forget them: I have the memory of a senile goldfish. I have been focussing on trying to cross things off faster than I add new ones.

The wonderful world of email is largely to blame. It makes communicating with clients and colleagues so much quicker and easier, but also creates a steady flow of new messages to deal with, each heralded by a friendly but demanding 'beep', that I can never resist investigating, nomatter what I'm in the middle of.

Today I have spent literally hours going through emails, trying to make sure I have all the information I need for all my October school visits and booking all the trains. 

I've also just spent £250 buying my books from my publishers, ready to take them with me into schools, for signing for the children. Let's hope I sell some!

Actually, the main reason I hope people buy them, is the weight. My little suitcase on wheels is great, but hauling it on and off trains can be hard going, and I always hope that it's lighter travelling home!


weechuff said...

Of course! It never occured to me that you have to buy your own books:0) I am sure you will sell lots and lots, and come back swinging your empty suitcase!

granny grimble said...

Ah! That's the cake beneath the icing! I bet it's a nightmare booking train seats for several trips in advance. Hopefully this will be your last 'stint' before Christmas. What books are you taking this time? All your 'blog fan club' will be waiting eagerly for new amazing and amusing stories of your October travels.

Damian Harvey said...

It's amazing how much time you can spend on admin stuff isn't it. I'm determined to keep on top of mine from now on as when it builds up I end up spending days catching up an then find it's hard to remember what I've done and what I haven't done. There's always something I forget... despite making lists.

You know, I think that librarians must be some of the strongest people in the world... I've seen them lunk huge boxes of books around without batting and eyelid - amazing.

Lynne Chapman said...

Like the cake analogy...

Yes, I have to buy the books for resale. I make about £3.50 on each. Unless I sell tons, it doesn't amount to much, but it's an excellent way of getting them out there, as bookshops these days stock a very limited range of picture books. I can take a good cross-section, and keep the older titles going. I still sell my very first book: The Rickety Barn Show.

Yes, the nightmare of multiple train booking is making sure you don't get any dates wrong, or get confused with the 24 hour clock. And finding out how long it takes from the station at the other end so you can get to school on time, and making sure you've got the right station in the first place...

Yes, this is the last batch - from October 2nd to November 5th. The fireworks will be like my grand finale!

Lynne Chapman said...

Hi Damian,

I worked in a library when I was a teenager. I still remember them teaching me how to carry a tower of books!

Yes, I still am in danger of forgetting stuff too. I have a 2-tier system: anything very quick, very important, or very likely to slip the net gets done immediately it comes in.

Still miss things occasionally though. Completely forgot to book the train for an event recently - I was getting my gear together at bedtime the night before, and then noticed! I was up til midnight fiddling around on the web buying one - just what you need before an early start. At least I didn't leave it until the morning to discover.