Tuesday, 18 November 2008

picture books

I recorded the first two in the series of documentaries about the picture book on BBC4, and finally got round to watching the first one last night. The way it was made seemed to me a bit like documentary by numbers (such as showing a bit of stock footage from the 60s and playing a hippyish tune to show they had moved on to talking about that era) but the books they discussed were undeniably classics, and it was great to hear the authors and illustrators themselves, such as Allan Alberg and Shirley Hughes. Watching it confirmed to me that I have a real urge to get into a new children's book project. When I look back at the picture book work I did on my degree 3/4 years ago, I really don't think it was actually that good, and I'm eager to try and improve myself.

Two different things are daunting me though. The first is that as such a strong admirer of certain books, writers and illustrators, a nagging voice which I'm sure many people hear keeps making me think it would be impossible to ever reach that standard. I suppose I have to use that admiration and self-awareness to continually improve, but it's hard to swing it round from a defeatist attitude. The second daunting thing is allocating the time. I have in my head that after Christmas I would like to try devoting a day a week to it, but during a recession a day a week devoted to work for which I may never be paid (or if I do then many years down the line) - is a daunting prospect indeed.

Perhaps I'm thinking about it all too much and should just get started!

This is a book which I love at the moment, by Emily Gravett. It's very simple (as the best things often are) and beautifully drawn.

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