So I've been working on a huge blog post about my experience and process of creating a picture book. The scope just kept getting broader and broader and I got too frustrated with it and in a fit of rage deleted the entire thing. I've finally decided to try and attack the topic again now that I'm pretty relaxed and holidaying at the coast, and this time I'm going for a different approach. I'm sure anyone interested in reading what I have to say will be intimidated by a novel of a blog post anyway so I'm going to break it up into sections and keep them short and sweet (I aim to anyway).
For those that know me, writing a picture book might seem like a strange project. Firstly I am a self proclaimed comic nerd, why didn't I write a comic? The reason I did anything at all was because I decided to give myself a year of working casual jobs with little responsibility, I figured I deserved a break after finishing my uni degree. If I was going to be taking it relatively easy I thought I may as well get back into doing something I was truly passionate about but didn't have time for while studying, art, and while I was at it I could do something productive. So I set myself a goal in my downtime after work: to finish a script for a comic series by the end of the year.
Similar to my first experience trying to write this blog post, my comic series script got way out of hand. It jumped backwards and forwards through time by hundreds of years, it attacked speciesism, sexism, racism, classism and capitalism. It had clones, nuclear fallout, futuristic pharmaceuticals, mental illness and technology beyond our means. However, with the comic script I didn't rage quit and delete the whole thing. I would have liked to at times but I stuck at it and finished in my timeframe.This is the first page illustrated.
Now that I have finished the comic script I've decided it would make a good prequel to another story I want to write, and it will most likely take me an age to finish that as well so don't hold your breath.
About three months in to writing the script I realised that although I was enjoying the creative process I wasn't producing any physical art, which is what I wanted to do at the start of the year in the first place. I updated my goals for the year with the task of completing a picture book by the end of the year. The decision to create a picture book did start as an afterthought in the process of writing a comic series but I have always been fascinated by picture books and children's literature.
The reason I settled on a picture book over any other potential project is because of my experience working one of my casual jobs as a childcare assistant - the official position was an early childhood educator. As the title suggests, parents drop their children off with the promise of their child returning to them having learnt particular social conventions necessary for their future in our education system. I strongly disagreed with a lot of the behaviour that the different centres I worked at encouraged, it was plain to see where the prejudice and bigotry that plagues our society began.
Something that really annoyed me was that the children only ever learnt about animals in the context of how we use and abuse them. Animals either come from the zoo, the farm or a fantastical story that is explicitly for one particular faith. I felt as though all of these stories had their own agenda independent of teaching children about the amazing earthlings we share our existence with. I have so much respect for authors, such as Dr Seuss, who strive to promote important and meaningful messages through their work rather than simply appealing to the largest demographic for the best sales figures.
So my objective became clear, I would write a story that was actually about the animals in their own right and their true lifestyle, I would write something that I felt needed to be heard.
Don't change that dial, the next exciting instalment is due next year!