It’s a funny old thing making an illustration for a cover. I’ve been working on the one for the final Mousehunter book, illustrating a really fun scene from quite early on in the story. The nice part of it is that it’s the same scene I read out at the Crystal Palace Festival, so it’s fresh and alive in my brain.
Translating it into an image has been a bit of a blast. There are huge flying mice, with Emiline and Scratcher holding onto them for dear life as they leap out of a window. And of course, way down below is Old Town. It’s great to have Old Town there, as on the previous cover it was just a bit of deck. (There is the port on the new Mousehunter cover, but that’s not available just yet.)
I imagine many writers have ideas for how their covers should look and I imagine many are frustrated by the outcome. But I’m so lucky to get the opportunity to influence them so much. I guess it’s a big responsibility, but hey, I’m always up for a challenge.
I watched Inkheart at the weekend, and there are a few lovely scenes when the writer of the book (a fabulous Jim Broadbent) gets so excited about seeing his creations come to life that he forgets that the baddies he made up are in fact very dangerous.
Well, this cover has felt a bit like that for me. It really feels like I’ve recreated my world in picture form and, it also has Scratcher on it.
So here’s a preliminary drawing for the cover, of Emiline and the massive Beachcomber Mouse. I’ll post the finished thing when I can!
I’ve been really knocked out by this cold, and while I’m trying really hard to work, it’s not making life very easy. It’s only words or pictures, I know, but my brain’s not functioning. So I’m easing myself back into mice and yetis gently. Wouldn’t want to scare them with a sneeze after all.
What does seem to be functioning pretty well is my imagination. I’ve been able to scribble down a few new ideas, some of them with potential, and some of these have been successfully filled out into proper story proposals.
It’s always peculiar where ideas come from, but there’s definitely two stages to it: 1) the spark, the little nugget of a plan that comes anywhere at any time, and hopefully gets jotted down in a notebook, and 2) the sober thinking, cogs clunking around stage, when 1+1 has to equal 2 and so on. It’s stage 2 when more themes/side stories to the idea have to appear, and if they do I know I’ve got a goodie.
When stage 1 hits, I tend to create a new folder on my computer, give it a title, and hope that’ll help stir something. I might just leave it there for months, doing nothing, but I do usually come back to it. This generally happens after stage 2 of the process has taken place, and I’ve thought about it again, and found ways of making it work.
And then, more often than not, I realise it’s a book that someone else should write. Or someone else would write better. But any way, this here is a quick scribble of a crow from my sketchbook.