For some time now I have been aware that my use of the photocopier to separate my artwork into a linework stage and a colouring stage was limiting what I could achieve. In The Selfish Giant, I knew that colour would play an important part in telling the story; what with the changing seasons and the multitudes of children (who I thought needed to appear as bright and varied as the flowers the narrative links them to). In early tests I found that the photocopier was leaving so much grey on the page that it was impossible to make anything bright at all.
As I had done with While You Are Sleeping, I tried to develop a new method that would be more apt to the story. This one would involve using a range of coloured lines, the line colour being determined by the painted colour underneath...
Ultimately I wasn't able to make it work and only a few pictures done this way made it into the book. I really struggled to get things right first time and ended up redoing artwork again and again and again, which is almost always guaranteed to sap all energy from it. I also found it really hard to get a mark-making method that worked for both the giant and the children in the same spread. For every picture you see in the published book there are about five other failed versions sitting in my cupboard! I'm glad I tried though. By the time I had finished working on the book I had finally begun to develop colour processes that felt more like my own (my earlier post making shapes talks about one).
I think the first thing they told us in art college was, if you don't take a risk, you'll never learn anything new, which is all very well but there's a lot of falling on your face inbetween times.