Every Idea is Different (or how to make life hard for yourself)

It’s not possible to get overconfident as an artist. Because every time I feel a little like I know what I’m doing – every time I get the inkling that I may have something of this whole storytelling palaver figured out – an idea comes along that makes me a beginner again.

This is no coincidence. If I truly knew what I was doing, then the project would hold no challenge for me. It would mean I wasn’t learning, and such a project wouldn’t be able hold my attention. New ideas fascinate us because we have unanswered questions that float around them – things we don’t yet understand that we attempt to grasp by carrying the project through to its conclusion.

With Squish Rabbit, it was the first time my voice and visual style really started coming together, which was such a thrill. Of note is the fact that a significant feature of my illustration style is white space. Then along came Brave Squish Rabbit … which is set at night. So much for white space. I suddenly had to create spreads using full bleed colour – deep blues and blacks, which was a real challenge.

2013-11-22a

Next comes my latest project. It’s about a little bird on an isolated island. It has a single character (the bird) and a single setting (the island). Not a lot to work with in terms of creating a rich visual world with variety enough to carry an entire book.

I’ve spent the last few weeks storyboarding it out, and it’s certainly tested my creative problem solving. I’ve used more playful perspective, point of view and colour schemes than in any of my books yet. It’s been challenging and mind contorting and wonderful, and I certainly feel like a better storyteller for it.

2013-11-22b

Not that this will help me with my next project. Which, judging by my track record, will likely be about a limbless lion who lives in a tree…

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2 Responses to “Every Idea is Different (or how to make life hard for yourself)”


  1. 1 geekwithapen November 22, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Katherine, that’s a great post. I know exactly what you mean when you say that you feel like you’re getting on top of something and then you get hit with a new challenge. You’ve definitely got the right attitude though, we don’t want life to be too easy!

    Incidentally a limbless lion who lives in a lighthouse would tickle my alliteration toes better :)

    • 2 Katherine Battersby November 23, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks Sarah. Glad you can sympathise. It’s a tough but kind of wonderful learning curve, isn’t it, that apparently just keeps on going!

      And there seems to be a bit of interest in the limbless lion story. We could take the alliteration one step further and have Leonard the limbless lion who leaps from the lighthouse he lives in. Rather hard to leap without limbs, though.


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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

Available:

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