At times, the creative process is like a game of musical chairs, eliminating and stripping things away through a rotating wheel of first thoughts, second thoughts, decisions and stumbles. There is also a truth inherent in listening to the work itself, for it knows more than you do. Such was this week as I labored through a full circle of character designs and the frustrating art of drawing trees.
One of the poems in my book is about a strange creature who sits in a tree looking down on the world and grinning.
Without missing a beat she replied, "Ka-Biggely Fickle."
Shortly after some writing and a few revisions later, the poem emerged:
Ka-Biggely Fickle sits up in the trees,
And looks down in wonder at all that she sees.
She takes it all in,
And then with a grin,
She closes her eyes just to catch a few Zs.
The first initial sketch of Ka-Biggely Fickle (above) was very much like Alice's Cheshire Cat, and eventually I thought, too much like it. So she evolved through a few more versions to be sitting up on her hind legs and finally arrived to this...
So, I started the drawing over again, but this time I drew the tree better and butchered Ka-Biggely Fickle. (I shall not post this version of her here, lest you begin to have nightmares. Trust me, it's not good.)
At this point, frustrated beyond all hope, I pulled out a totally different random character from my sketchbook which was not really for any poem or story in particular. I wasn't sure who the character was...nothing more than a doodle really, but I thought, maybe this character is Ka-Biggely Fickle instead. So I re-drew again, using this new character. And for awhile, being quite pleased with how this one looked and felt, I started to believe this was the better way to go.
Until I showed it to Ariel.
She was not convinced. She knew Ka-Biggely Fickle better than I did.
And so, after some deliberation before bathtime, I decided to leave her beloved Ka-Biggely Fickle as she was, and would simply re-draw the tree to place her into it later with a bit of Photoshop layering.
But this other character I had also grown rather attached to, and as "luck" would have it, I had just recently axed one of my other poems for the book, making room for another one to take its place.
And that, my friends, is how Wixel-Flint the Cricket Watcher was born.