It seems so strange, after 857 blog posts, to write one that doesn’t have any images! For a visual artist, this is difficult to do. But now I am expanding my artistic efforts to writing and illustrating a book, “Milkweed Manor.” I can’t say that I intended to write a book, but the idea evolved from something else, as is so common, I think, in the creative process.
I was pondering ways to add value to my ceramic animal character figurines and, since I nearly always had a little story in mind as I created them, I decided to actually write the story and include it in a tiny hand-written booklet that would accompany the figurine. At some point it seemed a shame to only use the writing once. And at the same time, the characters I found myself imagining were tied together. They all lived in the same place – the forest behind Milkweed Manor The idea for a book slowly worked its way to my conscious mind.
And I must say that I had a catalyst in this process. At the beginning of the year I joined a coaching group for artists created and led by Nikol Peterman, called “Fearless Academy 2018.” It has been so helpful in so many ways. I was working on defining my “body of work” that I wanted to concentrate on this year (in addition to continuing to produce pieces for my Etsy shop The Foxes’ Garden https://www.etsy.com/shop/thefoxesgarden} when Nikol nudged that seed into sprouting!
I never really thought of it as a children’s book, but during a visit to Barnes and Noble, looking for books sharing the format of the one I had in mind, I found myself squarely in the children’s books section. This has taken some getting used to, but I’m almost there.
What I’m really interested in is the characters and the way they live together in their little Community in the forest. I’ve found that what I have in mind would fall into the children’s book genre of the Anthology which is apparently (according to my research at least) not much favored by editors. But after giving it some thought I have decided to forge ahead, banking on the value of authenticity!
So I’m aiming for about seven chapters. I have ideas and notes for all of them, and have written the rough first drafts for four and am now working on the fifth. Sometimes the writing seems to flow, and other times it’s difficult. But the flowing times are so wonderful that the hardest of “stuck” times are well worth it.
I’m absolutely itching to get to the illustrating, but I’m not going to do anything but preliminary character sketches until I have the whole thing written at the second draft stage. It’s so much easier and quicker, after all, to rewrite that to do a new illustration!
Thanks for listening, and I’d love to hear from you!