Monday, 20 October 2014

bye bye studio

It is with HUGE relief that I can say I finished my picture book commission before baby's arrival - 2 days before due date - talk about cutting it fine!!

I've been packing up my studio as I'll be on indefinite maternity leave. I said goodbye to my paint covered desk as it went off to the dump, along with my palette which had grown heavier and knobblier over the past 10+ years I've been using it. The last picture is the other side of the palette where I'd sliced off the knobbly bits to reveal layers upon layers of colour.

It feels sad to say goodbye to these things, to see bare walls and have everything packed away not knowing when they'll come out to play again, but at the same time I'm happy to take a bit of a break - well, it's hardly going to be a break as we face many sleep-deprived months ahead of us again...!

Friday, 10 October 2014

The wino sees it all

A few weeks back I was traveling on the overground. At 32 weeks, I'd say I'd passed the point where I looked a bit chubby and definitely looked well pregnant. I could not believe the lack of eye contact. Everyone was totally engrossed in their own little world in the palm of their hand or the rubbish free paper to look up to see who was around them. No matter how good my book is or where I am in my knitting, I always make a point of looking up at each stop to see if there might be someone who needs a seat more than me, but not this bloody lot. Most of them young, some only traveling 3 stops or so but boy were they in a rush to grab a free seat if they spotted one, pushing past me to get to it. Unbelievable!!

It's not that different on the tube either. There have been times I've traveled with my boy and big belly on a super hot day, carrying a back pack and a couple of bags of shopping, but absolutely nothing. I don't know whether people genuinely don't see me or just don't care, but I can't believe no one offers a seat. The worst ones are the ones who see you but pretend they haven't. Is this how things are now? 

The wino on the bus, on the other hand, does see it all. He was explaining at the top of his voice about his plans to make wine in the big plastic barrel he hoisted up onto the bus, then gradually worked his way around the whole bus shouting at everyone, but mostly chatting up the girls until he spotted me and shouted "Hey, who gave you baby?"

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The final countdown

I'm very nearly due and am still working frantically on this picture book. The deadline that the publisher and I had agreed on has come and gone, and now I am faced with a very real, unbudging deadline: that of the arrival of baby number 2. I pat my belly daily, saying "Take your time little one, there's no rush". I'm relying on his timeliness to finish all the artwork, otherwise I'm in trouble...

This is my second children's book commission since becoming a mum, and as much as I've loved working on picture books again one thing I've struggled with is time, or the lack of it. Whereas before I could work day and night non-stop knowing I can catch up on sleep once it was all over, it just doesn't work like that anymore. That "catching up on sleep time" never arrives. My two working days a week disappear all too quickly and I'm always left wishing for another day, an extra hour even, to get that little bit more done. 

I've been very lucky working with a great publisher who have been supportive and encouraging from the very start, allowing me creative freedom and providing me with prompt feedback which can make all the difference in making the most of the time I have to work. 
I'm just hoping hoping hoping that baby won't arrive early, as I still have the book cover to start and finish and with only two more working days before the due date, I'm feeling a little nervous to say the least!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Baby fish

My little one gave me this the other day, and called it "Baby fish in fish's tummy" :)

View from up here

You may or may not guess from these pictures that I have another bun in the oven! This is what I see every day when I look down: my little boy's head peeping over my bump, blowing raspberries, prodding, hugging and generally messing about. He can't seem to leave the bump alone, wanting to get it out all the time which can be a little embarrassing when I'm in the shops or something...