I first met award-winning writer and illustrator, Gillian McClure when we gave a talk together at the Children's Writers' and Illustrators' Conference in September 2012.
Sue Price: I used to draw a great deal as a child and teenager, and was considered talented -- but with me, writing took over, and I drew less and less. Obviously, with you, the two skills went more hand-in-hand. Can you even imagine a life without drawing?
But I was half hearted. I loved colour and so I made a conscious decision not to move away from picture books however hard the going was. Now when I’m with writers I don’t feel wholly a writer and when I’m with illustrators I don’t feel wholly an illustrator. I only feel whole when putting text and image together in a picture book.
second draft occurs when I add the images; words can be cut back if the pictures are telling the same bit of the story. This is the stage I really enjoy, integrating word and image and getting
the sentences to follow the movement of the pictures, as in this early rough from The Little White Sprite -
If I’m illustrating someone else’s story, it’s a bit like coming in on the process at the second draft stage but being unable to play around with the words. I can add something to them though – a visual sup plot. Once I added a small dog to Mary Arrigan’s Mario’s Angels when there was no dog mentioned in the text. Neither Mary nor the editor objected to the story having a gate crasher.
Sue Price: I love the gate-crashing dog! And I loved your account of making a picture book. It confirmed what I've often suspected: that it's like writing a poem.
SUE: A last question, then. What's your favourite of the picture books you've done? The one that comes closest to your ideal of text and
pictures working together to make a beautiful whole?