Wednesday, May 6, 2009

cross-country training

On a train to Brighton - actually, on four trains to Brighton, such is the nature of interconnectedness-not. Four trains? Sheeesh. And dipping in and out of wireless broadband signals makes for twitchy blogging, lousy Guardian onlining and dodgy emailing. But hey. And it's beautiful outside - blossomy, sunny and precisely the kind of day that I do not want to be stuck on a speeding steel tube heading South. For some reason I get very travel sick on trains, and a day spent feeling decidedly ill, trapped on a variety of trains is Hell On Toast.

However, if I was home I'd still be beavering away at the line drawings for Witch Baby and Me After Dark which due to my having to lovingly limn each and every particle of foliage, shadow and woodgrain, are taking forever. FOREVER. Sisyphian doesn't even come close, right? Fortunately, I love drawing and close to four hundred line drawings ( over the series of three books) have sharpened up my technique to the extent that I no longer hyperventilate at the prospect of drawing a human face in deep chiaroscuro, but instead enjoy the challenge. Since the majority of the scenes in WBandMeAD are set in darkness ( the action takes place around Hallowe'en) there's plenty of opportunity on my part for much cross-hatching, and consequently the book will probably weigh more than most due to its freight of black ink. I used to have a tutor at Art School who would accuse me of knitting when he found me cross-hatching. That was back in the Dark Ages when knitting didn't have the same cultural appeal as it does now, and the tutor had an inbuilt bias against black and white line work due to being a watercolorist.  Media regardless, I wish I was a better draughtswoman, though. Looking through youngest daughter's copy of Finn Family Moomintroll,  I am as ever struck with awe at how stunningly brilliant Tove Jansson was in her use of light and line. 

There are some jewel-like drawings in Tove's books that lodged in my subconscious when I read them as a ten year old, and rediscovering them a few years ago was like finding buried treasure. Or, as I'm sure I may have said before, like stepping into a sunlit attic room and finding oneself home. 


Alwen said...

I just bought a set of books I had as a child, and re-reading the stories in them has exactly that feeling.

K said...

Blackwell's in Edinburgh has a display of all the Moomin books in the children's department at the moment. I spent a happy while browsing the other day, recognising familiar pictures and being thankful that they're still in print.

The only thing that puzzles me is that the books are little thin things, and I remember them from my childhood as satisfyingly fat hardbacks (they were library books). The print must have been enormous!