July 29, 2011 § 4 Comments
At 11:30 this morning I finished the last piece of art for ABCers !! – my next picture book with author Carole Lexa Schaefer. It comes out Summer 2012 from Viking. I can see my living room floor again. For the last seven months the floor has served as a viewing wall. It’s so important for me psychologically to be able to see the book grow and the images develop in relation to each other.
It’s such a rush to feel close to the end, everything coming together, idea flashes on waking (often at 4 am), details like puzzle pieces fitting perfectly. I figured out I have about 720 actual hands-on working hours in the project. More if you count my psyche pacing the dreamtime.
I can say this now because I’m done -well, there will be corrections and a few re-dos after copy-editing gets their feedback in- but there is always a point where I get down in the bog of it, thinking it will never end, I’ll be stuck there forever and my life will be consumed by- as my good friend Patty describes it- the “Coyote/Roadrunner anvil” hanging in the air over my head. Close friends get calls during this time. Bless you, you know who you are.
I’m happy to know however, that this bog is a natural part of any project. I learned this recently from a book, SWITCH. Its authors, Chip Heath and Dan Heath call this stuck place the “valley” between the two peaks of the beginning and the end. Knowing this will happen with each book project now -not trying to prevent it- I can plan for it, stoke myself heroic even, and press on through the challenge.
The Heath brothers (Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die) have written another brilliant book. SWITCH: How to Change Things When Change is Hard (2010) I’ve been reading a library copy for the last 2 weeks and I have to say it’s changed my life. At least how I think which is huge. Brightened up the final push of this project, that’s for sure. Something just clicked. Ha! Yeah – like a light switch (another image from the book). Mostly it was focusing on what they call “bright spots,” any small part or process that’s working well, making you feel good, optimistic. A spark.
All the illustrations were done with Berol Prismacolor Art Markers and Prismacolor pencils on a recycled paper from France called “Speckletone.” I’ve used the same paper in a number of children’s books. (See my website: pierrmorgan.com ) The markers sink into the surface a bit creating a soft look, earthy and inviting.
I have to laugh about the markers and pencils being lined up here. I didn’t style them for this photo. It’s how I work. (The carpet is even white – in ten years it’s only gotten one spot of blue paint.) I like to have things in order so I don’t spend energy -like leave my chair- looking for tools. The markers are divided into warm and cool colors in box lids and I’m like a kid with the rainbow thing and the pencils. I did it with the 64 Crayola crayons too. A meditation. Entry to The Zone of creativity.
July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
One of the fledgling Barn Swallows has died. Don’t know the cause. But at least it made it back to the nest where at night it is surrounded by the warmth of its parents and sibs. It has been two days gone.
Curious about the lifespan of these fliers, I found a site that has answered almost every question I’ve ever had about them. Ask The Exterminator – by Rick Steinau. Click on the “Like” button on any page you visit so he can continue to offer the information for free (requires a Facebook account). He has a long list of birds and critters with lifetime facts. The Swallow’s average lifespan is four years.
And life goes on busy on the wings of strong hearts no matter the size.
July 24, 2011 § 2 Comments
Before sunset yesterday a troop of strange cirrus clouds came floating across the inlet. Like parachutes or jelly fish in the air waving their long arms leaving dots of rain behind. Reminds me of the opening scene of the Star Wars episode “The Empire Strikes Back” where Imperial probe droids were slinking around the snow on the planet Hoth. Makes me wonder if the design of those spidery droids was inspired by a parachute cloud sighting?
In case you’re thinking about skydiving now, here are some short, graphically pleasing education videos on air temperatures around the world and how weather changes.