Still drawing really. As the plot develops I find the drawing I did has to alter to keep up with the plot.
Do you like the kinds of books that have illustrations of the scene? I do. I like the maps in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as much as I like the helpful pictures of Wol’s house in the Hundred Aker Wood. It’s just so handy to know where you are.
On the other hand it is also very nice to imagine characters in books for yourself. I think most readers probably do this because it is almost impossible to discuss films made of favourite books without someone telling you the actor chosen was completely wrong. It must be difficult for the actors too, stories abound of the awful struggles of some poor sap who has to lose two stones by next Tuesday week to depict someone who escaped from somewhere with no dins dins for ages. There are also tales of those who, forced for a crust, to replicate the struggles of elephantine boxers and the like have to eat themselves into a stupor and add a ton by Friday. I’d be no good at the former but absolutely excel at the latter. I can put on three pounds by tomorrow with no effort at all.
Constantly changing the scenario of the novel so that what is on the paper has a good resemblance to what is in my head, is, however, quite laborious. I do this, as you know, in reality, drawing with a pencil on paper and actually cutting out the bits that need alteration with scissors. I do know what you are maybe going to suggest, that I need to take a course on technical drawing with a computer. I do. Currently my struggles on paper, whist leaving plenty to be desired, do at least result in something in existence. Currently if words disappear, I have saved a backup, but if I did something wrong with the drawing and it all just vanished, or vanished to the last version, I would be distraught.
Also you might be asking why I just don’t get on with the words and let somebody qualified do the illustration, good point. Also E H Shepard, very good point. The thing is that after a lot of practice I can get the ideas out of my head into yours with much less distortion than you would think. The more I practise the less bounded I am by the medium. I fear the introduction of the third party would complicate matters. I don’t know how films get made at all. The number of creative minds at work on a job which will finally be unveiled as one entity is terrifying. How do you get everybody in the same book, let alone on the same page? I have no idea. But I am aware of writers who have been terribly upset by the filmic rendition of their work of imagination.
On the whole I think I incline to the ‘one singer, one song’ view of art. This might be because you just, for example, don’t get art gallery owners wandering around with a paintbrush doing touch-ups. It might be because of my mother. She was completely incapable of leaving anything alone. If you gave her a birthday cake she had to move the candle a millimetre to the left and then say ‘There, that’s better,’ before she could let you light it, by which time you might well be consumed with a strong desire to torch the lot with a flame thrower. Or you could make her a trouser suit, have her come downstairs glowing, wearing it, go ‘Oh wait a minute’ go back up fetch a brooch, add it and then say, ‘there, now that’s wearable.’ I made her dozens of birthday cards and never put a single one in the right place on the mantelpiece. I made her earrings, in utterly identical pairs and still inserted them in the wrong ears (and yet never remedied the matter by simply screwing her head round.)
So I think on balance I am very likely to keep on with the cut and paste until I get it where I want it. What I want is for the stuff on the outside of my head to have a close correspondence with the stuff on the inside of my head, whether words or pictures. Is that what we all want or is that alarming? I suppose it all depends on what is on the inside of your head.