I have my first drawings from Sarah. Every time I hear from her I get so excited that I can’t really function dispassionately enough to make decisions. I have to leave the email for a while and come back to it. This is definitely the case with seeing drawings for the first time.
Sarah has sent a very roughly sketched storyboard of the book to show how she thinks it should be paced and showing the layout in terms of which will be double page illustrations and which will be single ones. It gives the gist of the ideas she has had for each page and I absolutely love it! It makes me wish that I had some drawing capabilities. The butcher’s is exactly as I’d described it and the others fit the story so well. There is one page where Ellie is skipping along the corridor and even though it is only a sketch you can sense the excitement and joy of the little girl – it is delightful and really makes me smile.
One scene has me a little confused as to what I want because it isn’t how I’d imagined it. There is a part of the book where Nana, Grandad and Ellie are sitting down to a meal and Sarah has drawn this in a dining kitchen. It looks really good. I hadn’t imagined it in this way because at my parents’ house and at our house we always eat in a separate dining room. Do I want the characters (because they are characters, not my actual family) to sit in a kitchen because it looks good artistically, or do I want a dining room because that is how I imagined it? I never thought to mention to Sarah that it was set in a dining room because I took it for granted that it would be. One to ponder on.
I have also received three character drawings – Ellie, Grandad and Nana Duck herself. The picture of Grandad really made me laugh and Ellie is so cute and full of life (just like my daughter) so I don’t think that I have any significant issues with them. I had imagined Ellie’s hair slightly longer and the clothes aren’t right but this is a small detail. I’ve sent Sarah a couple of photos of my daughter in clothes that I imagine Ellie to wear in the book (a dress and tights rather than trousers) and I’m sure that is a pretty simple thing to alter.
Nana Duck is more difficult. I really like the sketch but it isn’t how I imagine Nana to look so I’m going to try to give Sarah some specific feedback on that sketch. The body shape is right and the slippers are spot on but I’m not sure about the facial characteristics. Again, something to consider.
I’ve been thinking about the setting for the cover and have decided on a stretch of the Caldon Canal close to where we live. I’ve walked down today to take some photos and will send them over to see if Sarah can do something good with them. It will be great to have somewhere on the cover that represents home to us but will just be a picturesque canal scene to people who don’t know the area.
I’m going to send some initial feedback to Sarah but she is flying out to Italy for her wedding in the next couple of days (lucky Sarah!) so that gives me a bit of time to think it all over so that we can meet to discuss when she gets back. Then the work will really start.