The Story's Development
My Mother is a Bear Beast (#bearbeast) started unwittingly just over two years ago. A little rhythmic prose echoed in my head and an illustration followed quite naturally. Inspired by The Dark by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen with hard lights and strong blacks, my little one-off Mama Bear was much more graphic than my recent work and utterly unlike my typical sketches.
A few months after this one-off, I considered turning it into my first story book. But only a few weeks into brainstorming, I had an offer for a supported project about a wild fern named Polly. Over the summer of 2017, I was worked on Polly in a very structured manner but unfortunately it fell through after my supporter bailed out.
After that disappointment, I needed a project 100% my own and close to my heart, which could be created organically as an artist rather than as a project with deadlines and collaborators. So nine months after the first image was created and five months after I first considered turning it into a book, I again took a look at Mama Bear.
ANOTHER YEAR PASSED! Frankly, very little progress was made last year aside from sketching and story boarding as I was fully immersed in my job at Sprout Home. But here I am, finally winding down on the first draft of this book.
What I'm Working Right Now
So why is this project taking so long and what is an organic process anyway?
Well, its giving myself time to work when I want. Its allowing myself time to adjust to my new environments and developing a work-life balance. Its not building a proposal, characters and storyboard, then drafting and promoting. Its more sketching, creating a spread, sketching more, seeing how that could relate or go in some order, changing the first spread or making more just to get rid of it in the end.
No, this is neither time nor cost efficient. But for me, right now, wanting to develop a voice and project I care about, it works.
A Long Way to Go - But I See it
This project is a true passion of mine. That said, it is going much slower than I expected and desired. As true for everyone with passion side hustles, finding the time to work has been a real challenge. One of my top goals is to build regular work time into my life. Seeing the project come together has highlighted how far I've come, but also how much revision is left to go.
My Next Step: Finish the illustrations, share at the SCBWI critique group next month, and research publishing options.
Please feel free to be in touch or share. Thanks for reading!