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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life List Goal #86 - To write a children's book based on my gram's life (get it published) - and other thoughts about creativity

I'm going to start work on the illustrations for my children's book about my gram today. The muse has spoken and I must answer her call. Added bonus: I have an excuse to sit on my ass for the next few days, while I hyper-focus on illustrating. Super added bonus: The Trolls are gonna be totally stoked because they get to have cereal for dinner.

Whenever I pre-plan an art project, I have to let it germinate. Germination times vary, however. If I let it sit too long, I lose interest and the idea goes away. If I dive right in, the results are often piss poor and result in a lot of wasted art supplies, which is neither environmental nor fiscally friendly, (my salary from the day job can only allow for a very limited art supply budget, and The Trolls didn't sign on for the "starving" part of the starving artist gig). If it's a project of worth (aren't they all?), I have to keep an eye on it, but without keeping an eye on it. It's a delicate balance.

I knew I wanted to write a children's book about my gram for a while. Looking at pictures of her from when she was a kid, she was always the one making the funny faces while her sisters posed politely and appropriately for the pictures. She was impish and tomboy-ish, all qualities necessary for the hero of a children's book. Plus, she's got a great name for a character, Dottie, which saves me the trouble of coming up with one. Above all, though, she's my gram and I love her to bits and I think it would delight her to know end to see herself as a children's book character.

But I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the illustration part. Would I do literal interpretations of the stories? Would I try to sketch images from the photographs? Should the pictures be sort of the nonsequitor element of the story? In color? Black and white? I couldn't decide, so I just sat on the idea coming back to it every once-in-a-while. I'd roll it around, decide I didn't quite have it, put it away, take it back out... basically, it's the hokey pokey of projects.

In a moment of... something (I don't know what word I'm looking for here)... the illustration piece came to me, so I'm going to start hammering those out this week. The pieces will be inspired by gram - kind of like movies that are "based" on books are more "inspired" by the book - rather than literal interpretations of her life. I'm very excited and will try to post pictures of the illustrations.

I don't want to get too far ahead of myself and think about the "get it published" portion of the goal. I know I can get it published, what with the plethora of self-publishing options out there. If it's good enough, I may try to get it actually published, published. But in the mean time, I don't want to put that kind of pressure on myself.

Close, but unrelated side topic: it interests me that the muse seems to speak to me mostly when I just don't feel like doing anything, when I'm not feeling "it," and when I'd like nothing more than to sit on my ass and contemplate the bottom of a bag of Cheetos. But this is also when I'm at my most neutral, mood-wise. I can't make good art when I'm depressed or happy; I'm too vested in the emotion. When I'm feeling neutral, but may not actually be neutral, the emotion can sort of just flow through me and come out in the work.

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