A few years ago, my friend, muse and partner in crime, Mitch Vane, said, ‘Jen, you should write and illustrate your own picture book.’
Scoff. Splutter. Blush.
I have NO QUALIFICATIONS.
I’m not a REAL illustrator.
I failed art. (Mostly because I never turned up…)
I haven’t done 5000 hours of life drawing.
I haven’t even been to Paris!
But, you know, those kind words from Mitch got me thinking.
Here is a picture of Mitch in her studio. (Btw, Mitch will be hosting a masterclass in the Duck Pond in July 2021):
The thing that really got me thinking was her sage advice, ‘Just draw some pictures and write a story around them.’
You mean you can do that?
Isn’t that arse about?
Shouldn’t we write the story first then illustrate the WORDS?
Because you know what?
You can do whatever the fuck you want!
OMG! How liberating!
The other thing that hit me like an ACME anvil was this.
I do it ALL THE TIME.
I rarely write a blog post without first scrolling through my phone.
Or walking in the garden with my camera.
Or flicking through a mag or a beautiful picture book or rummaging around in the Witchy Cottage.
I have written entire NOVELS because I saw a pretty picture and thought, hmmm, there’s a story here somewhere.
So, dear reader, next time you’re stuck for words, search some place other than your journal.
As I always say to my beautiful duckies, think visually!
Look at pretty pictures.
Dive into your art books, your kidlit, your magazines, even your Netflix (ahem).
Just get a pile of random images into your noodle and let them mish mash around.
Then see what comes out. See what flows.
You might end up with a Danny Best…
Or a novel.
Or a blog post.
Or a screenplay.
Or a picture book!
Notes from my creative writing book— immerse yourself in words AND PICTURES every day.
Train your brain, dear reader, train your brain to think visually, to think laterally, to think creatively.
And remember how lucky we are because we get to DO THIS!
Go full on, dear reader. Go. full. on.
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