I am asked that question all the time. Creativity can be a circuitous
route and often ideas wander down twisted paths so it's hard to know where
they begin. I recently received a copy of my latest book Scarlet and Igor, a
story about a vampire and mummy who are best friends. When I saw the finished
book, I thought about where the book began and where it
Scarlet and Igor didn't begin with the story. Instead, I was interested in finding a character that might appeal
to boys and because I primarily do my thinking in a sketchbook, I did lots of sketching;
Aliens, monsters, bats, anything that came into my head.
I liked drawing the bat, so I started putting the little bat in
situations and that helped me get a sense of his character.
I sent a few of the drawings to my agent and at about the same time she asked if I would look at a series of stories she had written about 2 friends. I read them, loved them and because I was drawing bats, jokingly said the stories should star a vampire. My agent thought this was a wonderful idea and wondered if one of the characters could be a vampire and the bat from my sketches. Again, I always think better in pictures so started
sketching again. I didn't love the result, the scale was wrong, and the 2 characters just didn't seem to relate to each other.
All the while I was wandering down this path, I was imaging
another character, someone who was physically opposite of Scarlet.
Sometimes I am inspired by shapes, like vegetables, so I experimented with different shapes.
I started sketching again and a little roly poly mummy's
emerged. He seemed like a perfect friend for Scarlet because they worked together visually.
Scarlet and Igor was a happy coincidence, It certainly wasn't the book I set out to do. Sometimes books take unexpected turns and as authors and illustrators we need to be open to the changes.
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