It’s been a long year

Sometimes time catches you out – 2018 has been like that. It seems like an age ago that I was getting my portfolio printed for the Undiscovered Voices launch and setting up my Instagram account. Since then, highlights of the year haven’t been illustration-based – the London Book Fair was a bit ‘meh’, and I’ve had even more rejections from agents. On the other hand, I’ve had a couple of lovely holidays, I’ve learned how to climb despite the arthritis, and I’m looking forward to the finale of the Tower Hamlets Book Award that I’ve been running as part of my job.

I’ve enjoyed the artwork projects I’ve been working on. I haven’t posted much recently because I’m currently drawing entries for the Folio Society competition – Howl’s Moving Castle, and I won’t post any of those illustrations until the winners are announced next year (and only then if they look reasonably impressive). It’s Inktober, however, that made me start seriously thinking about how I go about drawing.

October coincided with me working on the Howl’s… illustrations and (being quite a serious competition) I’ve dedicated quite a lot of my free time to this project. Even without a time-hungry drawing task I’ve never managed to complete Inktober, and yet my Instagram feed seems clogged up with people producing quite detailed and ambitious pieces every day. There’s currently an equivalent for writers in November, which (if I’ve calculated correctly), requires approximately 5 hours per day of writing in order to meet the target wordcount.

Hold on! Am I jealous of all this time they seem to have to be all creative? Yes. I suppose I am. A bit. Or are they all working themselves to death? Up at 6. An hour of drawing. Then off to work. Draw in their luch break. Home by 6, and 5 more hours of drawing before bed? That’s not particularly healthy. On my last portfolio review, I got involved in a conversation in which I was asked how many days a week I get to work on my illustrations. My answer was “maybe an hour or so a day, sometimes a bit more on weekends.” And this answer seemed to shock some of the others there, who informed me that they only had to work one or two days a week in a paying job.

I need to find a rich patron – though I’m certainly not young and pretty enough to go the traditional route…