Today was a day for making videos of my two most recent books. I’m not used to speaking directly to the camera, but I hope it helps to give a reasonable impression of what the books are like.
It looks as if the theme of the next colouring book will be…
Wait for it…
It’s probably not going to be the most profitable of subjects, as the market will presumably the subset of people who both like rats and enjoy colouring. But the rat community have been so supportive of the butterflies book that I’ve put the intended next topic on hold and switched to ratties. I have a good collection of rat drawings to start things off, and it’s beginning to looks as if it’s not as hard to decorate ratties as I thought it would be.
That’s the title of my new book. The phrase is something of a family joke, because many years ago, whilst running a ratabilia stall at a local rat show, there was a small girl with an enormous pet rat who repeatedly came up to us to say ‘I love rats, I do’. Ever since then, whenever the rats have done something particularly cute, silly or gross, we’ve come out with the phrase.
I knew that this book should be a children’s book, but it’s taken me a very long time to put it together. First of all, it needed pictures, so I bought some graphics software and a graphics tablet to plug into my pc, and set about learning to draw. Well as I’ve said on here before, it turns out that the best way around my colour-blindness is to draw directly onto the photographs. Smudge painting. Even cheating like that, it’s taken me several months to gather the right photos and turn them into images that work with the book and that feel good enough to inflict on the public. Then there was the text. It took a couple of false starts to begin moulding it into something I felt right about. Somehow I hit upon a look and a style that suited the topic, and off I went. It felt as if the images were taking forever to produce, and then suddenly they were all finished and it was just the text that needed a final polish. The typeface was a particularly happy find. It’s opendyslexic alta, which is very easy to read and suited the style of the book beautifully.
So now I’m watching the first few purchases and waiting to see how the reviews go, if any come along.
Time to start work on the next book, I guess.
We went to our local rat show last Sunday. It was the club’s 14th birthday, and I’ve been going to the shows almost from the beginning. The Midlands Rat Club is a very pet oriented and family friendly club, but we do enjoy showing our rats as well.
It’s taken me a few days to arrange all the photos for the club website, but I think they’re all in now. I’ve also put together a video of the show.
This is Mr Pickles. He’s a rehome boy whom I’ve had just over a year. I was told he was a year old when I had him, but I estimated him at around nine months as his roaning hadn’t faded much. One year later and he’s still not as faded as you’d expect. He was very odd and ‘broken’ when he came, and I scared him into a relapse a few months after then by moving his group into a different cage, but he seems to have mended completely now and has recently coped with baby intros and a cage move very well.
It feels like spring today. The weather is warm and humid, with a slight warm breeze. I even passed some may blossom on my walk to work. The cherry trees are showing buds, but the pink or green buds (whichever they are) don’t stand out to my colour-blind eyes. The white may flowers stand out, even though only one of the bushes in the hawthorn hedge had bloomed.
I think this year’s obsession is going to be the rat agility. Last year it was books, but the urge to make more has faded even though I still have more ideas. Now I’m lying awake at night plotting new obstacles to make, rather than plotting new books.
I have a co-conspirator in the rat club, someone who is handy at woodwork so can make agility obstacles for any of our members who want to try it. It’s all a learning process right now, we don’t even have an agreed set of rules yet. What I don’t want is to be the person judging the competition at the shows. I don’t mind leading the training discussion on the club forum, or showing people what I’m learning, but I want to be separate from the judging so I can compete on a level standing.