Saturday, 7 January 2012
Christmas and the New Year festivities may be past, but I am still trapped in a world of sugar and treats, of marzipan castles and icing sugar forests, of chocolates and candy canes and sugar plums. And no, I'm not referring to any festive binging (although there IS an abundance of chocolates strewn through the house; always dangerous with me around). This is the Kingdom Of Sweets from The Nutcracker. I have not yet reached that extraordinary land as I've been illustrating other scenes from the story. But I am dreaming and experimenting in readiness.
Ella Bella Ballerina and the Nutcracker has a particularly tight deadline - before begging an extention I had just four weeks to illustrate a whole 32 page book (in a highly complex method using three layers of art per image; I hope my students are reading this!). Then, just before Christmas my wife broke her wrist slipping on some festive ice, so as well as doing all the shopping, cleaning, cooking at Christmas (and beyond!), I've been getting up at 5am and working through until 11pm to give myself a chance of finishing the book on time.
Curiously, I am growing to love the early mornings, still dark of course, but deliciously quiet, and somehow that time seems all my own, with no one else in it to steal time and ideas. When I was younger I would happily work through the night to finish a book, for weeks if necessary. But I find evenings harder these days (something to do with being a parent I suspect...). Anyway, I am gaining ground and have almost completed the scenes of the book set in the real world. Then I can throw myself into the fantasy. Perhaps a chocolate induced sugar high will be required to fully inspire my imagination; on the other hand, if I don't get a bit more sleep I may well be hallucinating soon anyway!
Happy New Year!
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