Here are my essential tools for organising my ideas! Coffee, a small note book and a squiggly line that means nothing to anyone else; but to me it is the beginning of a story. This squiggle is the result of a chat with my brother in-law months ago. From this interaction a tiny idea became ignited and it feels full of potential.
My little notebook goes everywhere with me because I will see or hear something that will trigger an idea, and I know I won’t remember it. This can happen anywhere. But if I sit down to ‘come up ’with a concept nothing happens except panic and the need to browse Face Book! So I have learnt to relax, be open and receptive and when I am least expecting it I might have a light bulb moment.
At a concert last year Joan Armatrading said her lyrics were often inspired by snippets of conversations she overheard on the bus and I really understood her process. So my little notebook is full of random words, interesting names, facts, doodles – little sparks that have nothing to light yet, but eventually they will, perhaps in 5 years time, who knows! Like a library to delve into for information.
My first published picture book was conceived and hastily written on a paper bag whilst I worked in a posh cake shop in the 1980’s after a customer left an umbrella and someone else took it. That paper bag, with its scribbles and doodles was reluctantly shown to the publisher and she took me on, there and then. She could 'see' my idea and story even on a tatty paper bag.
When I feel really stuck a trip to a bookshop never fails to inspire – so this month I also want to share two great books I bought. 'Reinventing Lettering' by Emily Gregory (to take away my fear of all things lettering!)- It really helped as many pages take an illustrative approach, showcasing various artists work.
And 'The Storm Whale' by Benji Davies – a beautifully illustrated picture book with real charm, wonderful layouts and a gorgeous colour palette. I thoroughly recommend them both.