Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Clearing the decks

I feel a little like a squirrel preparing for winter (and not because it is once again 40 degrees in Boston). I'm about to start the paintings for a picture book and hole up in my studio, my little hollow in a tree.

This involves several stages:

1. Getting rid of all sketches, notes, books, odds and ends that are filling up all usable table space in my studio so that I won't be distracted (above was my desk at the beginning of the day).

2. Now I can start filling up all usable table space with new sketches, notes, books, odds and ends that will weave their way into the illustrations for this book (this is my desk at the end of the day- I'm in OCD paradise!).

3. Settling all unfinished business that has been hanging over my head and dragging on for weeks so that I can, without guilt, completely withdraw into my head and live in the world I'm about to try and paint.

Its a little like going away to camp when you're a kid. You feel a little nervous about going somewhere new. Hopefully I will make friends with my characters and fall into a groove quickly. Then, before I know it, I'll be emerging from this cave and blinking at the sun. I am glad I have my pen pals at the BRG to send postcards to!


Libby Koponen said...

I know that feeling, do the same things, and use the same phrase for it. Fun to see your before-and-after table! And it will be even more fun to see the finished paintings....I hope you post some here.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear about your process step-by-step. Silly little details, like what you're painting on, how big it is, what you're painting with, etc. I know a little about dummies and storyboards and sketches, but zip about making the finished art.

I don't mean to be nosy, but I am interested.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's shockingly similar to what I have to do before starting a new project...got to have that blank slate! Getting the whole house cleaned before starting is even better, but that hardly ever happens. That's why I keep the studio door closed (ha!)

Stephanie Roth Sisson said...

Funny...same here. The piling of piles during a project..little snippets of this or that for reference...lots of paper, tubes of paint and tiny pencil stubs everywhere...then completion of a project and a neatness attack happens...piles are sorted, papers start to fill the recycle bin....some good little ideas are found on scraps of paper, writen there to keep for later, after...things are dusted, brushes cleaned, supplies replenished...and it all begins again.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell us about the story? Any details about your process?

Love the studio photos, wish we could send snapshots back.

Hope your story comes together beautifully, and is realized just as you imagine it.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna -- love seeing your desk! Wouldn't that be a cool book of photos -- children's book writers and illustrators' workspaces? Perhaps I'll post a shot of my desk on my (new!) blog, which was in large part inspired by the blue rose girls!


Anna Alter said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who has a neat attack everytime I start something new. Its almost like a symbolic clearing of my mind before I start working!

I'd be happy to post more about my process as the painting progresses, I love hearing about that stuff from other people too! There are always similarities, but also great differences in the way everyone goes about this process.

Leo- love your blog, I found it when you posted the other day. Great to see what you're working on and how you go about everything. Yes post a desk picture!

Anonymous said...