Giddy With Glee...
Terrified... Thrilled...Panicked...and Giddy. I’ve run the full gamut of emotions today before, during and after my meeting with the author. After a full weekend of drawing whenever a moment presented itself to get the cover pieces done and one other large illustration finished, I ran into computer problems LATE last night when the Freehand EPS files wouldn’t export with a preview. That meant coming up with some other solutions for the book title at least to rough it out enough for the author to get a sense of what could be. Many schools plan their enrichment for the early fall in the next few weeks as they wrap up THIS school year, so she wants to get a new letter out with a teaser of the book cover included, even though the final version may be slightly different. No pressure!
I’d spent most of the weekend trying not to second guess myself. I kept wondering if my tighter, detailed style would be too much of a jump for her when it came to the detail in the people. My sister, Laurie, was a wonderful sounding board, as always, when we chatted on Friday. She pointed out that if the author totally hated the look, I could try a softer style if I wanted to keep the project and still have great drawings for a portfolio. Even Nick commented at one point during the weekend how cool it was to watch a drawing come to life from my hands “even if it’s just your style!” I knew he meant that as a compliment, especially since he cooked supper AND did the dishes on Sunday because I was in “the drawing zone”!
This morning, I went for a walk with my walking buddy, right after we got the kids on the bus to wear off some of my nervous energy and did 45 minutes rather than the hour... which was a good thing, because just as I got my glass of water before I jumped in the shower, the author showed up 15 minutes early!! Maybe she just thought the rumpled, slightly sweaty look was artsy, because she was very polite about my casual look.
I took a deep breath, led her to the dining room table and sat her down to show her the drawing of the grandmother and kids who appear in a photo on the cover. Her very first words were “Oh! I hate the brown chair!” I think I felt my stomach sink to my ankles at that point, but started thinking through options from using gouache to redrawing the whole thing, because she went on to tell me how MUCH she loved the characters. (That got the stomach back up where it belonged and the heart beating normally again.) When I pulled out the other illustration of the little girl at her easel painting while the big dog looks on, she just fell in love with the details and the bright colours.
Once we went down on the computer and began to play with the cover layout and layers of art supplies that lie on top of the “photo” for the cover, she began to understand why the chair has the dark, velvety brown colour, so she may get used to it after all. It is much easier to work with a client who has very definite tastes that one who has no idea what she likes, wants or needs... but this is probably why I was doubting myself a bit too much. I kept wondering if she’d decide that she didn’t like how the people looked, especially the Nanny/ grandmother.
Once she left with printouts of possible colours for the cover, the dummies to help her decide between 20 and 24 pages and .jpg versions being e-mailed to her, I did a little victory dance of sheer relief and giddy glee around the main floor of the house before heading up to get that MUCH needed shower!!