Wednesday, October 7, 2009
White pelicans occur along the Missouri in summer. I'm not sure where they're breeding nearby, but they sure are in high breeding plumage, in a state most of us don't get to see. In this state, the white pelican grows a comb on its bill, a horny plate that falls off when it's not sexy anymore. And they grow this lovely black peruke, a little pelican toupee.
With Phoebe in the stern, we snuck up on a pelican. When I was in college, I took an animation course. This was in the days of cels and paint, when you drew every stage and painted it on a transparent cel. I chose to animate the takeoff of a pelican from the water. Oh, if I could have had these photos to work from!
Here's what I learned in Animation. I learned that I didn't want to be an animator, at all. I guess learning what you don't want to do is half the battle. Maybe more than half the battle.
This pair of white pelicans was resting and talking quietly on a mudbar.
Suddenly another pelican approached.
Sploosh! he splashed down and skated in to break up the tete-a-tete.
Who invited him?
I TOLD you he'd crash our little date!
I am so excited. My right elbow is resting on an 1 1/4" high stack of paper, still warm from the printer. It is the text of my new book. I finished the final edit today. Well, with books, there is no such thing as a final edit. Heck, it hasn't even gone to my editor, Lisa White at Houghton Mifflin. But I finished my quasi-final edit. And now I get to pencil in the illustration ideas in the margins. Oh my goodness. Verklempt!
Sometimes it hits me that if I were a normal author, I'd be pretty much done now. Instead, my work is about half done, because I've got to create all the illustrations. And if this book is anything like Letters from Eden, it's going to be lavishly illustrated with sketches and paintings of Important Birds in My Life.
Let the wild illustration rumpus start!