This past week in Lilla Rogers' online course, Make Art That Sells, Lilla scheduled children's book illustration as the lesson. Bright and early on Monday morning, she gave us a subject to warm up on:
Obviously, if you've been given a teaser regarding an upcoming Children's Book Brief with a snail as the central character, you are going to hit the internet,
looking for snail images and expressions.
That is what children do - they look at body language and expressions, right?
What I found at first was enchanting and then...ever more disquieting.
They are curious about things.
They will look directly at you, apparently with all four eyes.
All of these wonderful images and thousands more are on the internet, and when I tried to quickly find them again to pay credit to the photographers, I did not have much luck. I'm sorry about that, because I cannot imagine the work and expertise it took to have these intriguing characters sit for their portraits.
As I studied these faces and postures, I was continuously thrilled with how very human snails look - and took pains to create Happy Snails, Chipper Snails, Upbeat and
Ready For The World Snails.
I was cruising.
I had perky Bookworm snails,
Wise old snails who used their shells as a recliner.
And Madcap snails who loved hats.
At 5:00 A.M. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, Lilla posted the full Brief.
We were to illustrate the Hans Christian Andersen tale of The Snail and The Rose Tree.
If you've never read it (and I hadn't) it is a moody story of a snail who has no interaction with the World as we know it; who spits at the World, stomping off repeatedly for long ruminative periods to his snail den beneath The Rose Tree.
For whom he has nothing but disdain.
I was speechless.
Well, almost. I decried the subject matter to Lilla, then stomped off to ruminate on my own.
Whilst ruminating, I re-read the teaser............which included a suggestion to practice
lettering the words: The Snail and The Rose Tree.
So, there you have it. Never, ever, sail off to create the world unless you know which world
in the Universe you are to create.
Thankfully, Lilla allowed us to interpret the story in any fashion we chose.
She already knew we were going to squawk.