Moving on, nothing like a long, quiet, winter weekend to think about where I am and what I’m doing. The where I am question is a bit of a pickle. Thankfully, the what am I doing question seems pretty much resolved.
I had one of those moments when I thought back at my previous books and longed for the safety net of well-intentioned publishers and strangely happy reviewers. ‘Cause once you have someone who seems to like what you do, it’s easy to find yourself expecting everyone to like what you do. Which is a form of delusional thinking, but whatever. And since I was missing those heady, optimistic days, I sort of had a yen for all things pen and ink. Which is never good.
Of course, my reason is simple: no one has seen my painting work in an illustrated book form, so they have nothing to compare to the ink books. You can look at my paintings or you can look at my ink illustrations. Nothing exists which merges the new medium with the old format. And there’s a good chance that might remain the case. I have no idea where painting will take me, so I can’t assume it will lead to children’s book illustration. That makes me feel a little less than confident. Which is silly.
So I spent some time wondering if I’m making the right decision or if I should hedge my bets. To do a lot of painting while doing some inking on the side. But I’m not one to hedge my bets. Even if something is a long shot, I’m all in.
And then Mandy said, flat out, no pen and ink, no fountain pen drawing. Nothing that sucks up every hour of every day. And nothing that makes me more miserable than happy. It was hard to argue with her logic so I didn’t even try.
For as proud as I am with my previous work and how happy I am to have put it out there, I think it’s time I come to grips with the fact those days are long gone. I’ve changed, my publishers have changed, the industry has changed. To think that what I was doing in 2006 would make me as artistically satisfied in 2016 is ridiculous. I ran with pen and ink for a decade. That was enough. It’s time to have my nephew hide my inking supplies while I get my head in the game with painting.
Perhaps painting will lead to new ways to illustrate. Perhaps it will allow me to do battle against the forces of Art… or Evil. Or anything else that pisses me off. Odds are it will. So long as I go into it with my usual level of intensity and commitment, I have nothing to worry about. I just need to suck it up and do the work. When I’ve made enough stuff, all the successes and all the failures, I’ll be able to see where I am… and then, who knows… But I’ll have all my what’s and where’s sorted out, which is a hell of lot better than wandering around my snowed in apartment like a clueless jackass.
Off to paint!