Thursday, 3 November 2011

Writing and Sketching New Stories

I have been stealing a few days here and there to generate new story ideas to pitch to my publishers. 

I started bouncing ideas around with John a few weeks ago, when we were trapped in Wales and we have since treated ourselves to a couple of 'working lunches' at a local cafe, to bat things about some more. It's so much easier with a second head, as it stops ideas from stalling so often and somehow, being in a different, more lively environment helps to get things motoring (well, that's our excuse anyway).

Then I started to enlarge on our ideas, by creating some sketch sheets. I've learnt from past experience that, as an illustrator/author, pitching text-only stories to publishers is not the best route to success: I can see how funny the illustrations are going to be, but it turns out other people can't see into my head! So, for my last 3 books, I have sketched out the various characters and lots of the key situations, which helps to bring the story to life. 

I always hate the first couple of days on a brand new project though. It should be fun and exciting but, in truth, I always begin by entirely losing the ability to draw, so it's like pulling teeth and I get rather stressed and grumpy.

Which is what happened this time. John and I had come up with what we thought was a good story idea, but I kept stalling on the character sketches. The story features a gang of dogs and, for some reason, I've always found dogs tricky.

So I decided to warm up by re-visiting a text for which my characters were already sorted. I had the fundamental narrative written and sketched too, but I could now see several places where  things were confusing, or not sharp enough. It's amazing how much more easily you spot the weaknesses in a story when you've been away from it for a while (just like you can in a drawing).

I got on much better with that project. I gradually began to do more drawing and less rubbing out and swearing! So, this week I have gone back to my troublesome doggy characters and am having, slowly, more success. John found this great book in the charity shop too, which is proving really helpful:

It's especially good, because, as well as having lovely, big, clear pictures, it also shows the dogs in a wide variety of positions. I usually get my reference from the net, but everyone snaps their pet dog face on!

I'll let you know how I get on. At least the slow pace of the visualisation is also providing time for the storyline to mature. 


Julia said...

What a brilliant insight into how you work, really enjoyed this post - than you!

Julia xxx

Art By JoJo said...

How exciting Lynne, I can't wait to see this one unfold. I love your blog and the video of you showing us your beautifull and I must say TIDY studio is great, I watched it a while ago and it helped me loads :o) I class myself as a self taught 'wanna be' artist and one day I would love to write and illustrate a childrens book, oh it would be a dream come truuuuueeee :o) xxx thanks for the inspiration Lynne xxx Jo

Frances said...

I love reading your blog! gives me an insight into what I really want to do when I leave school.

Chris Krupa said...

My wife has witnessed my "New Project And I Cannot Draw" mood.
It is a relief to hear I am not alone!
I appreciate the honesty in this post

Anonymous said...

Promise you'll have a Bassett.

Caroline said...

I too, was relieved to read that I'm not alone with that oft occurring inability-to-draw scenario! Can't wait to see what your pooch theme is all about!

AnAis said...

Love your studio, Lynne ;-)