stories and illustration

A Picture Book – The Midnight Hare

midnighthare 1This is a detailed but unfinished rough illustration for a book called “The Midnight Hare”. About two years ago I wrote a script in two hours, one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon.  I had deep feeling about the script, but it has taken me all this time to decide how I am going to do the illustrations for this work.

When the pens I usually use, which were fine-nibbed true sepia in colour, were discontinued, and when watercolour itself wasn’t giving me the feeling I wanted,  I decided to try new techniques. I treated myself to a real extravagance,  a big box of gouache and a big box of crayons, artist quality, they are just delicious, I drool over them, and keep them all in order, which is so unlike my somewhat chaotic manner of work (though when I was very young I had a lovely box of conte crayons, in a metal box, and  even when my father got locked in the larder and I was the only person able to rescue him – I must have been about 4 at the time – I apparently insisted on putting the crayons back in the box in the right order before trying to get him out – he was expostulating all the while through that kind of mesh they had on larder doors).

I digress.

Using new media, and drawing with a fine sable brush, the feeling of the paintings that I have been working on are at last corresponding with the feelng I had when I first wrote the script. There is a graphic quality that I want to keep, but with gouache it is possible to build up colour, and to overpaint, without the work getting muddy. Also it is possible to paint light over dark. I had always intended to send this book out to various publishers, but after listening to two agents talking about the difficulties these days of getting work published, and the very long time it took, and other limitations, I suddenly realised that I would by-pass all that.  I wouldn’t look on publishing my own work as second best but as something I would like to do in itself, and would not bother to send it out to publishers at all.

As well as having a lot of work published in the past by large publishers, here and abroad, I have quite a bit of useful experience working on small press picture books, and I know that good sales are quite possible. We have a very proficient and friendly printer locally who are proper book publishers, which is an amazing piece of luck – and I have worked with them in the past on books for Serafina Press.  So rather than trawl my work round I have decided to wade in straight away and enjoy the whole process of writing and illustrating, production, costing, publicity and sales all on my own.

I will be blogging now and then on the whole process, I might even give the book its own website nearer publication, which won’t be until 2016.  Wish me luck.

August 20, 2015 - Posted by | Art, Illustration, Uncategorized | , , , , , ,


  1. Best wishes for an exciting journey – love the illustration and concept!


    Comment by Mary | August 21, 2015 | Reply

    • Thank you so much, Mary, it is really encouraging to hear those words. And you are quite right, it is a journey – I am looking forward to the experience with some trepidation, as there is a lot to think about. I wouldn’t do it unless I had some kind of affection for the story, and a relish for the challenge. I shall keep you posted!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | August 23, 2015 | Reply

  2. I love the story of the crayons and your father in the larder!

    Wishing you all the very best with the book!


    Comment by Meanderer | August 23, 2015 | Reply

    • Thank so much for your good wishes. I haven’t really thought about my father in the larder for such a long time, just remembered it when I was writing the blog entry, and thinking about my mixture of pernicketyness and chaos. I can actually think myself back that far, which surprises me, as my memory has a lot of gaps. Interesting stuff memory, I think there is a lot more in our brains than we have immediate access to….

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | August 23, 2015 | Reply

      • I agree. As I age, I have found myself remembering events from childhood in greater detail – at the expense of short term memory, I think!


        Comment by Meanderer | August 26, 2015

      • My son said people forget things more as they get older as they have so much stored in their minds sometimes they find it difficult to find what they want right away (which apparently has some scienntific basis!) However, that doesn’t explain the sudden flashes of clear memory from the past. I think we have so much more in our memories than we have immediate access to…. but people are icebergs, anyway, so much more there than appears on the surface, even to ourselves.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | August 27, 2015

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