I’ve been in Red Wing, Minnesota all week with like-types at a retreat. And thought I’d share a little bit of my experience.
I love hanging with other kid’s book building people. Meeting two fellow PictureBookBuilders there was especially nice.
There was joy and inspiration at every turn. People read their works-in-progress to the whole group. We ate together, drank together, and played together. We put on costumes. We hunted scavenging-ly. We hiked, biked, shopped, saw the World’s Largest Boot, etc.
We played music…
We played poker…
There were learning sessions and I took notes during them, and they all kind of ending up looking like this:
Which made me happy. Because I haven’t just sketched like this, without an agenda, with no idea what is going to come out of my pen, in a long, long time. It seems whenever I pick up a pencil (or stylus) I need to work on something specific. Either work I am contracted for or developing works in progress. I have no idea what any of these are about, but there may be a spark or two of story in one of them. Even if not, they were fun and good exercise. Made a little more challenging by working with the unforgivable ballpoint pen.
That no-agenda-creativity carried over when a handful of illustrators took over a table at the outdoor bar Wednesday morning. We got together to chat about our work, the industry, our concerns and anything else that came up. Naturally, we all had our watercolor and drawing stuff with us and after ordering a couple of carafes of mimosas, we began creating. Drinking and drawing, if you will.
In the end, what I learned is what I’ve always known; we all work so isolated that when we get together with other creatives we love and admire, there seems to be a coming together of muses and I am more inspired, more inclined to pick up a pen or a brush and make something. And maybe it will be something great and inspire further exploration. Or maybe it will just be a good exercise in scribbling. No matter, my soul comes away filled.