There is a new book well underway. I thought of the idea shortly after the Kickstarter books had first delivered, because after that milestone, I felt the emptiness of not having something to work on.
And so, I gradually pieced together the ideas for this new book, and recently, have been writing more consistently during the week, sketching and planning. I still don’t know if I’ll follow a similar style for the artwork. I know I want to add color in some respect, but I don’t think it’s going to be something so drastically different from what I did for Zosan. I think there is a way to add it such that it becomes an accent and a complement, rather than taking over the page. I’ve been looking at lots of other illustrators’ styles looking for ways to employ color in a less-than-wholesale approach. And I see there are many possibilities for that.
Will it be letterpress? I think so. I may have to print it myself, but at least there’s a possibility for that. Maybe there’s a way to share that task. All I know is that it was altogether worth the effort to have the book made that way, and I want to do it again.
The writing remains one of my bigger challenges. I’ve realized I want to create something that is neither a picture book, nor a novel. Books that are meant to be read to a child, with images that help them follow and discover and text for the adult to find their inner kid. I think of all the books that delighted me: Pooh, Bread and Jam for Francis, The Phantom Toolbooth, Howliday Inn, The House with the Clock in its Walls, Peter Pan, Stuart Little and Paddle-to-the-Sea. There’s a range of illustrative styles in there, but most of them are more story than picture book. I simply like both aspects of this enough to do both.
I’ve encountered another writer recently who told me he stopped writing, because he didn’t read much anymore and he didn’t think he had anything to write about. And that has been a concern of my own throughout this process. I have not historically prioritized setting aside hours to read, and in recent years that’s certainly been the case. But I told this particular writer what I’ve been telling myself: to write anyway. Read what and when you can, without worrying about the end result or the audience.
Why that is so difficult is the big question, but I try not to dwell on the cause, either. I just keep searching for a way to keep going.