Tuesday 21 March 2023

Using or not using words - by Anne Booth

 I think all of us know the feeling when words just aren't enough. As writers, words are essential for us, but we know that they will never exactly capture what we want to say. All we can do is our best. I think that is why I love writing picture book texts so much, as the illustrations can often add a whole new dimension to a story. 

Recently I have felt too full of words - overwhelmed by all the work I have to do, and beset by anxiety and self-criticism . However, I have recently been going to painting and life drawing classes at my local adult education centre and I can heartily recommend this for any writer 'worded out.' It was a great break from editing. I found it incredibly relaxing NOT using words, but looking very carefully at the models and trying to describe them using lines, or negative space, or tonal values. I am off to Norfolk this coming weekend for a course on painting from imagination with the lovely artist Nicola Slattery. I am really looking forward to it, as I have been on her weekends before and Nicola is one of the kindest, calmest kindest and most encouraging teachers you could meet, as well as a wonderful artist.  I am hoping that maybe I can paint from imagination and combine this with my own words one day. I would so love to both write AND illustrate my own picture books, although I know I am so lucky to have been teamed with the most brilliant illustrators and would never want to change that. Seeing what an artist does with my words is one of the most amazing experiences!

I can really recommend Nicola's courses. I absolutely loved her printing course too.  This weekend my husband and I are going to stay in a shepherd's hut on a farm near Nicola's studio, and my husband , who works as a  technician in a secondary school, is bringing books he is looking forward to reading all day, whilst I plan to spend two happy days using paints instead of words.


1 comment:

Penny Dolan said...

What a recognisable feeling!

Hope you'll have a very peaceful time on your painting course, Anne, and a fine weekend together in that shepherd's hut. It can be such a pleasure to NOT feel as if your nose is pushed up against words!

When the time is good and right, you'll enjoy going back to writing too.