Spring has finally arrived (at least in theory) so I thought it about time I got back to sharing tales of my doings, goings and ponderings here on this little corner again. To be honest, after a busy and eventful few months, I have been glad to get back to my simple little life of quiet days creating, pottering, wondering and wandering (literally and figuratively). Most of all I have been glad to return to my studio and create without agenda or plan.
Despite the excitement and honour of being part of the children’s publishing Anthology, since last month’s book launch I have been feeling strangely ambivalent about being involved in the world of children’s publishing. The event itself was really enjoyable and I spoke to some very interesting and knowledgeable people. I also received some fantastic feedback on my work and I have come away with a much clearer sense of what the industry is like and where I would possibly fit in to it (I have to admit to having been fairly clueless about the inner workings of having an agent or working for a publishing house prior to the launch).
As such the experience was invaluable and I certainly left with some options to pursue. However, what became clear over the course of many conversations was that, like any commercial industry, children’s books are market led and profit driven. This is hardly shocking I know, but I suppose what hit home was the extent to which the illustrator must fit in with other people’s perspectives, ideologies and vision. Again, it’s what an illustrator is paid to do but the potential loss of creative freedom and control has been haunting me ever since the launch. I suppose I have been wrestling with the need to run with my own creations without compromising my values and not work for the dictated tastes of a particular market, as harsh as that may sound.
I feel as though I have somehow gone full circle, back to a beginning of sorts. And perhaps found a new freedom to define for myself the work I can and should (and shouldn’t) be doing. While I’m still considering what my options are I feel certain that I’ll be returning to my original plan of both writing and illustrating a story of my own. This is something I have wanted to do for some time and so I’m going to take my time with this and fit it around my daily working and making as an artist.
For it’s significant to me that it’s usually the work that I make for myself, inspired by my own wonderings and loves, that resonate the most with others. It’s these works that tell a tale of their own, with creatures often telling tales within a tale. And I think it’s their stories I must share, in words as well as pictures, for I know them best of all.
If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
About the Artwork…
This white on black acrylic painting, called ‘Flight of the Feathered Queen’, is a good example of telling tales within a tale and features some of my favourite themes and motifs.
Prints of this artwork are now available from The Honeybee and the Hare Etsy Shop.