Monday, 7 December 2015

Solving Problems with My Knickers...


I have been really busy lately - even more than usual! I have mostly been dividing my time between my residency and my drawings for the new picture book Class One, Farmyard Fun.


The roughs are going very well and I'm very nearly there. It's been slightly frustrating, working in fits and starts, rather than just ploughing on every day until it's done, but in some ways it's been better, as having 'rest' days keeps me fresh.

I hit a snag though, so had a meeting with Julia Jarman...


That's not something we would normally do, but we happened to be working together in Durham, doing a couple of storytelling events for the big Gala Day at the Northern Children's Book Festival, so we grabbed our chance after breakfast at the hotel. 

I was having a bit of bother with my knickers...

Actually, they were Julia's knickers.... Well, the knickers in her story anyway. The sort-of villain in the story, the bull, accidentally knocks himself out near the end, and the first thing he sees when he comes round is a pair of bright red knickers hanging on a washing line. Being red, they get him rather upset. 


I was having logistical problems, getting the knickers in the right place for them to be directly in the bull's line of sight as he opened his eyes, because I also needed the bull to be looking out of the picture at us as he wakes, for dramatic impact. While battling with this, I got a good idea: why not get him actually tangled in the washing before he knocks himself out and get the knickers caught on his horns? Funnier.


But this created another problem. On the next spread, Sam, one of the children, grabs the knickers from the line and uses them to lure the bull away. If the knickers were actually on the horns, this wouldn't be credible for a 5 year old child to do, even in picture book world. So I introduced a washing prop, for brave Sam to use to whip the knickers from the horns.

The knickers are Julia's means of saving the day in the story: with the help of the teacher at the wheel of the farmers truck, Sam gets the bull to chase the knickers all the way back to the field where he came from:  


All of which worked pretty well when I sketched it out, but it needed a significant change to the text - extra tricky, since the whole thing is in rhyme. So that's why I wanted to get together with Julia; I needed to show her my ideas, see if she agreed that it worked better and was funnier, and see how she felt about the text change.

Of course Julia was fabulous. She always is. She's such a great author to work with. She immediately got it. Luckily, we have a similar sense of humour, so she loved my idea. Within seconds, she was trying out bits of new rhyme aloud (much to the amusement of the hotel staff), experimenting with ways to create the new lines we needed. She had re-written it before I was back home at my drawing board. Thanks Julia!


I have now drawn everything and finished all but 4 spreads. They just need re-drawing (I always have to go through it all again, improving things and making changes). Nearly there. Better get to it!

6 comments:

Julia Jarman said...

Wow! They look abullosolutely marvellous!

Lynne the Pencil said...

:-D

Toni said...

Thumbs up!

eleanorpatrick said...

Brilliant! Lovely to see work in action. Very helpful. I'm always curious how many rhymed picture books get published these days when all the advice is that they do not translate well to foreign sales and that foreign sales are essential. How come? Many are new authors too. I think rhymes are so good for kids learning to enjoy language.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Yes, I know what you mean about rhyming books. I was originally warned off them, because of translations, but I have illustrated several in my time, including most of my Julia Jarman collaborations, as well as When You're Not looking, the first title I wrote, which was also rhyming. So I think the added value you get reading them aloud cancels out the disadvantage for foreign sales. They seem to manage to translate them okay anyway!

Allen jeley said...

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