You can read Chapter 6 here with greenlydia
I sit down at my computer and click open the folder marked “latest projects” and go through what Michael sent me for what must be the fiftieth time just to make sure that it’s still there and that it’s real. Last night I logged into my emails and there waiting for me was the final draft of a book. Not just any book either, it was THAT BOOK. I’ve illustrated a fair amount of books already but never have I had the opportunity to work on one written by an author I admire so I’m still a little star struck and a whole lot nervous. What if she doesn’t like my work, this isn’t confirmed yet after all. Not sure why Michael sent me the full draft before confirmation, not how things in this business is done but I suppose he’s just trying to play “nice guy” and do what he thinks is a favour.
So here I am reading what is apparently going to be book one of a series about a cat and a duck. It’s very Dr Seuss meets Beatrix Potter and it’s catchy which is always a hit with the young folk. But now the task comes with the fact that I need to draw up some usable drafts. I still have the rough character sketches Michael originally sent through somewhere so I sift through emails trying to find them. After a few minutes I find the right file, press print and carry the sheet over to the kettle, reading it over while I make myself a cup of tea. This is going to be tricky. Michael CC’d me into an email which pretty much threw the ball into my court and means that the next step is me emailing her. Remind me to take back that bottle of wine.
I sit down at my desk, dusting a few bits of eraser off before setting down my cup and getting comfortable. I put a blank sheet in front of me, grab a pencil out of my ponytail and suck in a deep breath, I love the smell of fresh paper and pencil sharpenings, it’s comforting.
About an hour later, a bunch of balled up sheets strewed across the floor and half a pencil later I have what I think is the perfect style worked out for the book and my favourite scene drawn up as a draft. I set out my watercolour paints and make myself another cup of tea before I add some colour to it. I’m one of those illustrators who prefer to do things the old way, meaning I do it all by hand and not this fancy new computer illustrated stuff. I’ve been told it’s a dying art but I’ll stick to it, the fact that I still get a steady stream of work in every month means it hasn’t died out yet and I’ll do it for as long as possible before I join the mainstream hipster artists of today.
I scan the image in and do the necessary touch ups before attaching it to the email I’m beyond nervous sending. But first…
Subject: your epitaph
So Mr Davids… what exactly is it you want written on your tomb stone? I know I said I could kiss you when you first sent me the details but you so screwed up sending me the finished draft, I haven’t even signed anything yet! You’re in big trouble Mr. BIG trouble…
I guess I’ve procrastinated enough, time to get this email sent off before I chicken out again.
CC: Colour Media House
Attached: Mr Bingly and the duck
Good afternoon Iris,
As Michael is a mutual friend we can both understand that forwarding me the final copy of your new book was probably in hopes that if I have the finished book I can hold it as leverage and demand to be appointed illustrator. He means well but just because his heart is in the right place it doesn’t always mean his head is.
I hope that it isn’t too forward of me but I decided to read it and sketch up a rough draft as a submission for the position. Attached is an interpretation of my favourite scene, I do hope it meets your standards of approval and that we can work together to bring your book to life.
All the best
I reread it at least half a dozen times before finally hitting send.
And now we wait.