“An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor.” —Robert Frost
I’ve been asked quite a bit about my creative process when it comes to making storybooks, so I thought I’d take a moment and share it with you all.
As an artist first and a writer second, I spend quite a bit of time painting, followed by a steady period of creative writing when I brainstorm story ideas and characters. Coming up with names and places is the most fun to do! To keep my creative flow going, I’ll switch between writing and painting, so when I experience writer’s block, I’ll go and paint something completely unrelated to what I was previously working on. I enjoy working between the two, and sometimes I’ll switch gears completely and challenge myself with poetry.
My creative process keeps me grounded and comfortable with my innermost self. I enjoy the days where I’m fully immersed in a state of energetic flow because I get to be myself through the creative journey. It can be a time of self-reflection and the application of what I’ve learned.
After I’ve put down the pen and refocused my energies on a new painting, a piece of the story will come galloping to the forefront of my mind like a flash of insight. It becomes a mad dash to get it all down before it’s gone again. This is what makes creativity so magical – the constant return of renewed energy. More often than not, the creative progress is about finding and connecting those hidden concepts.
Once the story is finished, I go about illustrating it, mapping out each of the characters with the scenery. The technical side of the creative process is sending my work off to be professionally edited. Then I get on to lots of artistic edits and formatting each illustration for the book’s page layout. A lot of thought goes into the buying of paper stock and choosing a colour theme for that edition. From there, it takes an entire day of stitching each book by hand – a full coffee pot and a good playlist is a must during this process! Once the books are stitched, the cover pages are boned with French folds and placed in a press for up to five days.
That’s it in a nutshell. Making art is about loving the process, the journey and all its sensations of breathing life into something. The reward, of course, if it all works out is a beautifully completed work of art. There are days when I look upon all my creations sitting on the shelves or hanging on my walls and I have to wonder where they all came from. Must be something to do with magic!