Sunday, 27 November 2016

The adventures of a pirate illustrator

Living and working as a pirate illustrator is a fine thing indeed. There's the life on the Spanish Main, the bags of cutlasses, the doubloons, drawing, painting. Some might timidly suggest that not everything about my career is entirely true. I do draw and paint so there is an end to it!

My cutlasses and pencils are sharp and my pistols and brushes loaded ready for whatever project I wish to pursue, cannonade and board. A recent project was a series of books that came under the collective title of Igor's Lab of Fear.

Igor's Lab of Fear is a series of books of which I was given the job of illustrating the final four. The previous illustrator was unavailable but had managed to illustrate the covers so my brief was to produce the internal illustrations. My contact at the Publisher was a lovely enthusiastic lady shipmate who was very encouraging and offered just the right amount of brief with plenty of freedom. It made a change to have a project where I was not warned against scaring the children but instead encouraged to do so. A fine thing for a pirate! The illustrations were all to be black and white and the creepier the better. I thoroughly enjoyed myself with evil creatures and disconcerting compositions but three books along and communication with the lady shipmate at the publisher went rather quiet. She had promised to send the manuscript for the fourth book but time passed and nothing came. It's at times like this that a pirate illustrator has to think about tides and sailing times. Another project was looming and my porthole of opportunity getting smaller. Eventually I was contacted by someone from the publisher who was sending through the brief and asking when I would be able to complete. Well, time had run out and I was now sailing a different sea. I had to explain the situation and hopefully they understood that despite being a pirate it was none of my piratey escapades that was at fault here. But what happened to my lovely shipmate at the publishing house? Did she move on to new horizons or was she a victim of the stories? I figure that most stories in books are based on truth and those involved in the production of scary stories are going to be facing the dangers that those stories tell of. Being a fearsome pirate illustrator, I face these dangers and emerge with barely a scratch but some poor souls are lost. Perhaps people should stick to writing pleasant costume dramas with afternoon tea and doyleys. It's much safer.

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