Friday, January 9, 2009

Into the Great White Open

What am I working on right now? I'm illustrating two different middle-grade novels for two different authors at two different publishers. I just handed in round-one sketches for Julie Sternberg's lovely book at Abrams. Now, I'm gearing up to illustrate an awesome new book by one of my previous great collaborators, Rachel Vail, with Feiwel and Friends. Just finished reading the manuscript (you're gonna like it) and am now peeling open the sketchbook.

I love my "job." Cause it ain't a workin-for-the-man/workin-for-the-weekend "job" job. It's me doing my thing and getting paid so I can pay bills, etc. and keep on doing. It's been years and years to get here, so don't think I ain't grateful. But... the love don't take away the terror of the start of the start of my every new book. Something about the anticipation to anxiety of looking at the white, blank sketchbook page and not knowing what's gonna take shape. I don't think that fear will ever subside. It just is. Getting started. Well... I'm being a little dramatic. "Terror" is probably a little severe. And it doesn't typically last too long. Just long enough to round out that first solid character sketch. Since that's where I always start--the main character sketch.

And it goes down, more or less, like this (illustrated from a previous study):


White sketchbook page--sort of a falling-down-a-hole feeling, only this hole is white. Waiting to hit bottom. Some place to stand on. Get the legs straight. Til I get here (don't judge):


Still falling. Pages and pages of bad sketches. Still trying to get foot. Flailing and flopping all over the place, but getting better. Almost there. And finally:


Good, solid ground. Something I can work with. Feeling much better, thank you. Start of the start finished. Now to actually start...

6 comments:

Skybird said...

I think the pictures are pretty good.

Matthew Cordell said...

Thanks, Skybird! And thanks for reading the blog. Julie--er, Ms. Halpern-Cordell--has nice things to say about you!

skybird said...

thanks!! how did the snow blower work out?

Matthew Cordell said...

Aw, man, I love the snow blower! Can't believe we ever managed without the thing...

skybird said...

Just watch...... it will get youre revenge on you!!
(DU DU DUMMMMMMMM)

jimmyprell said...

Matt, I love that shot of the blank page, the Great Wide Open. That's the essence of it. As somebody who stall a lot before jumping in, I think you captured that experience very well.