Back in November 2012 I was lucky enough to be commissioned by publishers Search Press to produce a book of bird paintings and techniques for creating acrylic art featuring birds.
After the initial euphoria had subsided, realisation dawned as to just what a task I was undertaking. The amount of painting that I would have to complete was daunting enough, but for this commission there would also be a substantial quantity of writing required. I would need to produce text that clearly explained various aspects such as materials, my colour palette, composition, painting techniques, reference gathering and also text on the features of birds (feathers, eyes, beaks and feet).
The format that we decided on for the book required that I part-complete all 27 paintings, to show different elements of each picture at various stages of completion. These were then taken to the publisher’s studio where they were photographed, before I could finally finish each one. For an artist who usually finishes each piece, before moving on to the next, having this quantity of unfinished work waiting for me was a particularly frustrating aspect of this process.
At this stage though I must pay due thanks to the Search Press team (in particular my editor) who made the whole business of being an author much less daunting than it might otherwise have been. I have been expertly guided through the production process, while at the same time I have been allowed to have a major influence on the final layout and appearance. I was given complete freedom to choose my own list of birds for the paintings in the book, a task which proved to be problematic, as my initial list of tempting species was 5 or 6 times longer than it needed to be.
Over the last year the layout plan that we were creating gradually began to take shape. Text and images were introduced, spelling and grammar was checked (and re-checked!), until we could pass the whole thing on to the design team. At this stage we really began to get an idea of just how the final book would look.
Now, all that remains for me to do is to check the colour proof when it arrives from the printer and then wait (in excited anticipation) for the advance copies to arrive.
The twelve months that have passed during the ‘writing’ stage, have flown by, but I daresay that the next 4-5 months until publication will seem to pass much more slowly.
The book can now be pre-ordered on my website. For further details, follow this link: