Sunday 5 January 2014

you win some you lose some

I am currently procrastinating for England as I prepare to start a story from square one again... the result is that my house is possibly as tidy as it has ever been.  Some piles of paper seem to have been undisturbed for almost a decade.  I keep finding things from the time I first moved here, when I was making ‘While You Are Sleeping'.  It was a particularly tricky period for me with story after story being rejected by the publishers.  Reading them now it is not hard to see why they were rejected.  They just don't quite work.  I think that the problem in the main is that I was trying too hard and taking everything way too seriously.  That is seldom entertaining for readers!
On the bright side I notice that many of the better ideas in these stories didn't go to waste.  I have just stuck them into other stories.  Sometimes an idea can crop up in quite a few before it finally sees print.   The Mr Punch comic uses a hat-full and, for that matter most of the characters are ones that I have been drawing for ages.

Here are some pictures that have lead to other things...

You'll see a lot of following the arrows in ‘Jim's Lion'.  I used it originally in a story called ‘The Way In'

It's not just Mr Punch and Crocodile who are obsessed with sausages, I am too and so are most of my characters!

In fact food and the digestion thereof are a central concern in my life.  The scene of debauchery above influenced the Mr Punch comic in two places... as you'll see when you read it.

I haven't used this code for a kiss since but now that I see it again I think it works rather well (mental note ^-^).

I have repeatedly tried to write a story with a good underwater scene... no joy yet though lots of near misses!

 I did manage to get sailing into Mr Punch... well, sort of sailing.  You'll have to wait and see there again.


  1. Great blog, always interesting.. accompanied by beautiful work too.

  2. Thank you! I like to think that I am still a child at heart but when I read this blog back to myself it seems that I am really still an art student at heart! This would also explain why I feel very much at home when shopping in Lidl.

  3. Hi Alexis - Happy New Year! (When is the cut off point to say this? Probably today.) Excited to read you're procrastinating from starting a new story! I have a question for you, from unpublished illustrator to published illustrator ;) How did you decide which publishers to send work to, and what did you send them? Or did you find a publisher through an agent? And if so, same question really: how did you find an agent you liked and how did you make them like you :P? Hope you can find a second to give some feedback - whilst you're procrastinating anyway! Looking forward to seeing the first new sketches! Cheers, Emmi Smid

    1. Well, I don't think there is any great secret to it. One of my teachers at art school gave me the name of an editor that she worked with and spoke to that editor to say that I would be sending them a story. It's not necessary to have someone recommend you but it helps at least in so far as your story probably will get read. You can find contact details for various publishers in the Children's Writers and Artist's yearbook - - try approaching someone with a knowledge of other work they are publishing that you believe yours would fit in with.

      The real trick to getting published is to produce something that people will want to read! It took me many, many tries before I got to that stage but I had lots of encouragement from the publisher along the way... Look at what you have made and ask yourself whether you would pay money to own it. If the answer is no then you should probably try again!

      Hope this helps!

    2. Thanks very much Alexis, and for replying so quickly as well! I always find it inspiring to hear start-off stories from other artists! Have you written for one of the Children's Writers and Artist's yearbooks yet?
      I enjoyed reading today's blog: the more stories you write, the more you realise it's actually really not that simple to write a good, engaging story - at least that's my experience so far. Looking forward to your new book, and thank you again for answering my questions!