A small something...

From my new picture book I'm working on. Just a sideline character. I like the sideline guys almost as much.


From Somewhere in New York

Well, the East Village actually. 'The Bean Cafe' on the corner of 1st Avenue and East 3rd to be totally exact. This cafe is open from 7 in the morning till 2 the next morning - that's a lot of coffee. It's also very dog friendly. You only have to sit in here for half an hour before you can tick off all the breeds. Lots of little doggy coats. Funny.

It's been a great week. I have had a bunch of fun walking (so much bloody walking!), sketching, taking photos, taking in the night life (which only stops when, well... when it's not light anymore), catching up with old friends and meeting some new folk. It is such a vibrant city. So full of zest, so eager to please if only just to draw you in before you realise you're hooked. Then again maybe that's just me. I do, and have for some time, been happily mesmerised by this city and all it's charming big city quirks.

The East Village, where I'm staying, is a really cool part of town. It's full of lively little bars, music venues and eateries. It's not as stylish or quaint as it's neighbors Soho and Greenwich Village but is so much more real and representative of the ambitious New Yorker carving out a career (so many in creative industries) or of the carefree New Yorker (mostly of the younger variety) living in the moment.

It's the ideal place for my new book's characters Herman and Rosie.

I can picture them both in their tiny little downtown apartments doing their best to get by in the chaotic city. I can visualise Herman playing his Oboe (which I think I'm changing to a sax based on some extensive time in the field) on his apartment rooftop at night.

Maybe a little like this rooftop which is the rooftop of my apartment's building.

Had a really nice catch up with Irish Illustrator/Author Kevin Waldron who lives in Brooklyn along with fellow Irishman Oliver Jeffers. The Irish are everywhere in New York and Brooklyn seems to be the new place for artists and musicians to live or have studios. Kevin actually lives in the East Village and cycles across the Brooklyn bridge everyday despite the unAustralian temperatures. Man, it is cold here!

Geez, what else? Oh yeah, had a really nice Thanksgiving with some friends up in Bronxville. So pretty up there. Saw some art exhibitions, hooked up with a NY literary agent, had far too many beers and late nights, caught a basketball game and some NY comedy (didn't finish until 3:30 in the morning!) Have some publisher meetings this week. Doing a picture book for Penguin US so that should be fun.

Looking forward to my Ali joining me this afternoon. It feels like it's been more than a week here. Anyway this post has been far too long and far too self indulgent (I apologise for this - I realise blog's are self indulgent by default but it's nice sometimes to pretend otherwise). And now a sketch or two. Forgive the quality - I had to photograph them and the morning light's not great. Catch you later.


New York and something about research

There are times when what I do feels like work - at least what I imagine work to feel like, but mostly I feel almost embarrassed to admit out loud to the fact (out of a weird respect to those who loath their week days) that I love my job. Even that word 'job' feels an inappropriate word to describe what is essentially a hobby that I get paid to do. I get paid to do something that I have done voluntarily since I realised that lipstick could pass as a frightfully convincing crayon alternative. Jobs, are things that people who add-up stuff have. People who tell other people what to do have jobs. People who wear different clothes on week days have jobs - especially people who wear ties - would they really wear a tie if they didn't have to? Geez, where am I going with this....oh yeah, I'm going to New York.

Yep, I've got my flights and accommodation (in East Village) all booked. Heading over in late November/early December for two and a bit weeks to do some 'research' for my new picture book which is set in New York (boy am I glad the characters just happened to live there!) Basically this research will involve a big fat sketchbook, some pencils, a camera and a bunch of beer. Beer will probably come after the sketching bit. Also going to visit some other people who don't have jobs - writer and illustrator types like me. I'm so excited, I decided to put an exclamation mark at the end of this sentence!

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