June 25th, 2020

little paintings: mouse ship

Everything in publishing these last few months has been a bit odd, to say the least. Bookshops shut, book distributors shut, postal disruptions, events, cancelled, publishing teams working remotely, publishers being extra cautious, writers and illustrators trying to work while homeschooling children... the list goes on. I'd planned a gap in my book schedule to do a sabbatical art study trip in Nepal, which Covid made impossible, so I had a bit of time, suddenly, just to draw and paint. And since I wasn't earning money from a book, I thought I'd try to sell some work. I've had some bad experiences of donating art to charity auctions and it not selling for very much (poor publicity from organisers? bad art on my part? too many other famous names in the auction pool?). So I assumed people wouldn't want to buy much. But, happily, I was wrong!



Besides it paying for groceries and stuff, it's been fun. There's something really refreshing about painting whatever I like and before the paint's even fully dry, selling it via Twitter (and occasionally Instagram). I don't have to send rough drafts back and forth, or wait half a year or a year for the publishing engines to churn, or do a whole follow-up publicity campaign... I just paint it and sell it.



I've had a few people get in touch about commissions, but that's not quite the same: there's a big difference creatively between painting something that really interests me and that I want to explore, and painting something to someone else's brief, trying to capture what's in their head. (A few people were willing to pay far, far more for commissioned art work, so I have made a few exceptions, but I really like doing these one-off free-form paintings.) And if I start promising pictures to people in advance, that also puts me under pressure that I don't have to deal with if I simply finish a painting and post it.



It's so fun simply to play with pictures and see what happens.