Sunday, May 01, 2011
from the BRG archives: quiet births
Many months ago I painted the last painting of a picture book, got on the train and dropped it on a white desk in the lobby of a New York publishing company.
Suddenly, two days ago, a heavy cardboard box shows up on my front porch in West Haven, CT. What the heck is it? Was I up at 3am bidding on eBay in my half sleep again last week? Oh no, it's 20 copies of my 6th book that I worked on for a year and a half.
Books are born without a lot of fanfare. Even my own family has gotten a little jaded about them. I never expected that when I dreamed of being an illustrator. It turns out if you want fanfare you have to make it yourself. The problem is I'm always about as tired as any new mother who's just given birth. Finding jobs, managing a business and painting is already more then a full time job, how can anyone fit PR person and party planner in there on top of it all?
But they do. I marvel at what the other Blue Roses are able to accomplish. I also think being the only non-writing Blue Rose gives me a slightly different relationship to my books. I get a lot of emails from new illustrators wanting to know how to get into the business or what my technique is, but the only 2 pieces of fanmail I've ever gotten were from children who confused me with the author. Doing a booksigning often requires repeated lengthy explanations about the difference between a writer and illustrator and how that arrangement works out. Which I love doing, but sometimes I worry I'm a consolation prize.
I swore the last time I had a book out I wouldn't let it go without throwing it a party, but here it is, and I'm caught unprepared again. Maybe even just a potluck in my backyard would do. Anyone want to come?
Originally published August 25th, 2006