*peers at readers through screen* Sorry, for two things.
One: I know the majority of you are not here for children’s books, coloring books, or the illustrations.
Two: I can’t have coffee.
I’m apologizing more for the second than the first. I’m not sure how I feel about it, yet. But I’d been having weird issues with a painful, tingly tongue and feeling like I’d eaten something very astringent recently. The first step to figuring it out is to eliminate acidic drinks for a bit. Coffee is acidic. Sigh. If I can’t tolerate coffee any more, what am I going to do? That, and as I’ve learned, allergies to caffeine are rare but not unheard of… Let’s hope it’s the acid and I’ve been overdoing the coffee & electrolyte drinks (which mostly have some amount of citric acid to offset the flavors). I’ve even bought new toothpaste because the old one was bothering my mouth. Turns out there’s an acidic ingredient (sodium lauryl sulfate) in toothpaste, which would not have occurred to me up until brushing my teeth made me feel like I’d eaten a very green banana.
I’d rather talk about my little dragon, see?
The release date is… soon. I pressed the go button before I started on this post, and Amazon says 72 hours. I’d planned to get it out in the wild before October, and I have accomplished that. I’d set up a (for me) challenging publication schedule for the rest of the year into 2021, and this was just the first step on that ladder.
Inktail, Too! was every bit as much a learning process as was Inktail & Friends when I brought that out in 2016. However, one of the things I learned and am delighted about is that I can use Affinity Publisher to lay out a very complex project, and it will turn out beautifully. It’s not even terribly difficult, once you get used to the program. Preparing the art for print, when I was transferring from traditional ink-on-paper to digital png files was a challenge until I discovered that there is a filter in FilterForge that lifts away all the white pixels. That was a time saver! It still takes time to clean up the lines, but it sped my time on each piece of artwork way up.
I still think I should be able to create a story around my illustrations, but writing a children’s tale is very different than plotting a full-on adult novel (and just as an aside, it sounds silly to say grown-up, but on the other hand when I say adult I feel I need to hastily add ‘not that kind of adult!). My mother has volunteered to look at my illustrations and see what she can do. Pretty sure she didn’t expect to have me drop over 400 drawings in her lap! (love you, Mom!)
And if you’d like to be able to consume the coloring book in something other than a printed version, you can indeed buy an ebook version. It’s on my website, because Amazon doesn’t host pdf files, and also because I know people sometimes want to be able to print out a page more than once. Or, as I had a fan do, print it out on heavy paper to watercolor rather than worrying about wetting thin paper.
It’s been a stressful year and I don’t think that will settle down for some time. Coloring books became all the rage a few years back as a way to focus on making something beautiful, letting your cares slip away. My book is not full of tiny intricate designs that will frustrate a colorist who prefers to work both inside and outside the lines… like the first Inktail, I mean for the activity to encourage creativity. Just staying inside the lines all the time is boring, don’t you think?
I mean, I’m a living example. I’m not content to just write, I must also draw. I also make chainmaille dragons (look, dragons are really popular. And cats. I can’t make cats in chainmaille, I can’t find the right parts. If I could?). My tagline in my art group is that I can and do make art in any medium. I recognize no limitations. That’s not entirely true – I have physical limitations (grumblegrumblenocoffeefrekinauntoimmunebody), and I have time limits and financial ones, too. We were talking orchid pots recently, as I have a lovely epiphyte (Miltonia) that needs repotting, but buying a suitable pottery one isn’t cheap. I have the skills to throw pots. I have not got the wheel, the kiln, the space, the time, the money… So I draw. And I write. Those two things are the backbone to every day this year in 2020, and the consistency of routine has pulled me through a whole lot of stress. Not just the obvious of the badly handled pandemic, but other more personal crap. We all have it.
Sometimes, it’s good to do something different, unexpected. Even a little childish. Besides which, I can and do sell the art, which enables me to do more art. See! It’s all part of being a mercenary wench.