Monday, February 19, 2007

What James will be doing this week

I emailed James to ask what he was working on this week. When you work at home, on your own, things can sometimes be lonely. You don't have to worry about things like commuting, but it can still be a long and difficult journey to the studio, past the washing up. And there is no one in the office to share the biscuits with! I knew he was getting towards the end of a difficult project.
So this is the news from Letchworth:
"This week I am:

Frantically finishing some of the art for Ella Bella. I have done all the double page spreads, but I’m doing my usual ghastly task of revisiting the almost finished art and discovering lots of tiny details that just need a final tweak. This always takes ages. (I don't know why I do this. I suppose I'm always keen to start on the next picture before absolutely completing the first. Or perhaps I just can't let go of pictures and consider them finished. When is a picture finished??? This is the real challenge to an illustrator - creating a picture that will be reproduced, maybe thousands of
times, that can never be retouched or altered thereafter, that has to be consistent with the others in the book. (Actually being happy with it on it's own terms is unlikely to happen!)

I'm not sure how I feel about Ella Bella Ballerina. The designer, Tim Rose and my editor Liz Johnson at Orchard have been very kind and supportive, encouraging me to be myself, to experiment and takes risks. But I find doing so really hard. I'll deliver the bulk of the book on Friday. I wonder if they'll like it. It is certainly very different and part of me is scared and part of me is excited.

On Tuesday and Thursday I'll be teaching at Cambridge Art School (Anglia Ruskin University). The Tuesday group, which is the Children's Books MA are doing well. We had a writing workshop last week because I want them all to try to write their own material if possible. Wednesday I'm giving a workshop to teachers on Why Art Matters at Bedford Museum, to link to an exhibition of my work there (borrowed from Letchworth museum).
Weds. evening I'm off to Cambridge yet again for the opening of the current graduation show for the Children's Book MA. This will be the same exhibition as the one the graduating year presented in January, but larger. I feel I should be there for them. They are all getting loads of offers from publishers and I'm so proud of them.

I'll have to work evenings to catch up with the final stages of Ella Bella.
Saturday is my treat - Madame Butterfly at Covent Garden. Cheap seats but I'll take my sketchbook in case I need some last minute theatrical inspiration for the book!"

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