Early in this process, just when I needed it, I came upon a quote from the granddaughter of Leo Lionni (Lady Baby and I have read “Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse” many times), which became my guide:
“The most frequent question that children asked my grandfather Leo was, ‘How do you get your ideas?’ He would usually start with a simple idea. Sometimes the idea would be a beginning to a story, some times an ending, other times it might be the main character, or the situation. But however it would start, he would work hard to create the best story possible. And so, to the question ‘How do you get your ideas?’ he would give a simple answer – ‘Hard work.’”
The trick is to know what exactly is the work. I didn’t know. So as a place to begin I made portraits of the principles in “Friends for Frances,” knowing they’d be unlike the real illustrations, but wanting to get to know their fur and their faces, wanting their pictures tipped up by my worktable, keeping me company!
Off to a good start, I’d say. They all look like “characters” to me, and Frances appears to be not so sure about the idea of having friends. I love the way you painted Wolsey’s fur.
Thanks Carol! And we do know that about Frances – she’s very self-contained. Wolsey’s fur is the color of orange sherbert!
That is SO Cromwell, Frances looks pretty surly, and Wolsey looks perfectly ample. I was reminded today that Wolsey demonstrates a fine and basic tenet of friendship. He purrs when he sees Cromwell (or the dogs) being petted, even though he is not himself being petted: he’s happy for his friends when they’re happy!
An astute Wolsey observation, that he is happy for his friends when they are happy. I think he has much to teach, and no one (no matter how surly) can resist Wolsey.
What a merry band of characters Katy—it looks like you’re off to a great start! Frances is fortunate to have such fine friends—whether she knows it yet or not. And Wolsey is definitely irresistible!
Thank you Michelle – fellow cat lover and drawer – you know how hard it is to get any sort of consistency – luckily these characters have such distinctive fur and shape – and oh it has been fun to have them to focus on. Thanks again!
Love those portraits. It’s exciting to be at the beginning of the story , and I plan to be careful and stay upright so that I’m around at the culmination of your creative process. This is fun! Love, Jane