Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Freelance Illustration: My Crazy Morning

It started with 50 things to do, all by lunchtime. It was possible to fit them all in, if I'd been calm and methodical. Instead I rushed and panicked and everything took twice as long. On the morning's TO DO list was:

1 Booking a taxi for 12.15
2 Chasing three unpaid invoices
3 Checking and answering emails
4 Paying an electricity bill
5 Making sure there was money in the bank to pay the electricity bill
6 Posting someone a CD of my Giddy Goat illustrations (for projection at a musical performance: more later)
7 Posting an invoice for last Saturday
8 Posting Georgia's drawing back to her school (and looking up the school's address up on the internet)
9 Updating my listings on my website
10 Getting books, posters etc packed for the afternoon's event
11 Drawing a snake colouring sheet for a Class Two event the following afternoon
12 Emailing said snake to the event organisers for photocopying

OK, that's only 12, but it felt like 50.

I did the emails first: I can never resist them. They took longer than was ideal. I flapped a bit and knocked the contents of a pencil pot across the floor. I cursed. I booked the taxi before I forgot, then I chose books for the event, gathered posters, blutack, bookmarks, a piece of artwork to show.

I thought I'd best draw the snake next and get it emailed, as it mustn't fall off the end. It needed to be an ink drawing. I got ink, paper, but could I find the mapping pen? I hunted. I cursed. I found the mapping pen in a cupboard, with a piece of card taped over the end to protect the nib (left from when we moved). I tried to pull it off. It wouldn't budge. I pulled more vigorously. It flew off and I stabbed my finger hard with the sharp pen nib. I cursed. I sucked my finger.

I dipped the pen and began drawing. I got blood all over the paper. I cursed. I considered hunting for a plaster. I couldn't be bothered. I sucked my finger and started again. Blood smudged on my fingers, but the paper was ok. It was looking good, but the ink was thick in places: it would take a while to dry. I finished it off then dragged my sleeve through the wet ink: a huge black splodge obliterating his nose; a black cuff. I cursed. Then I saw I'd already smudged it in the other corner earlier and not noticed. I checked my hand. Black ink. I cursed.

I let it dry then scanned it into the computer and touched it up in Photoshop. Good as new. I emailed it across. It seemed to take a long time. I realised in my rush I'd not compressed it: it was 3MB. I emailed an apology.

I prepared the things for posting and rushed out to the post office, running until the wheezing became embarrassingly loud. I got back and allowed myself a mug of tea. I chased the invoices by email, phoned the bank, paid the bill, updated my listings. I looked at my watch. 11.40 - I had to have something to eat before the taxi!

I ran downstairs, made and scoffed a sandwich while pacing. I put on lipstick. The phone rang: the snake file was too big, it hadn't gone through properly. Could I send it again? I checked my watch. 12.00. I shrieked then cursed. I went back into Photoshop and saved the drawing again, smaller. I emailed it again. I gathered everything together and was in the hall for 12.14. Perfect. The taxi arrived. On time! Wonderful.

I opened the front door... and realised I had no idea where I was going. I rushed back up 3 flights, found the folder, took out the details, ran down three flights of stairs, put on the alarm, got into the taxi and... relaxed.

I spent the afternoon working at a drop-in centre on the other side of Sheffield, entertaining a miscellany of under 11s from Tinsley, who were at a loose end during the holiday: as relaxing as a hot bath, after that morning!!


granny grimble said...

How do you always manage to find suitable drawings to illustrate your blog? You must have hundreds, but how do you remember what you have and how do you find them?

Lynne Chapman said...

Sometimes I remember that i have an ideal one, sometimes I have to do a trawl to see if anything fits. I suppose there must actually be hundreds!

Damian Harvey said...

Funny isn't it... people always imagine that the world of Children's Books must be a peaceful one. We spend our days in quiet contemplation, mulling over ideas and doing a little bit of work if the fancy takes us. I wish.
And don't you just hate having to chase up invoices - the cheek of it, having a doddle of a job and wanting to get paid for it as well.
Not that I'm complaining of course - I do love the job and can't think of anything I'd rather do.

Lynne Chapman said...

I know, there are certainly far worse ways to make a living (suggestions on a postcard please...)It is a frustration though that the admin seems to have rocketed. Or am I just more easily distracted?

Wouldn't it with amazing to have a PA!?