Archive for the ‘editorial’ Category

I mean, it looks from this blog as if I did no writing over the last goodness-knows-how-many weeks. And do you know what? I have worked and worked at writing, but it’s all been for things like my editorial, commissioning contributors (good emails that get people to agree to write for the journal take a LOT of composing, believe me!) or contributing a piece myself – maybe factual, news or extras.

It’s wonderful writing practice, but it does feel as if it isn’t quite the same as “proper” writing! Yet it has to demonstrate:

  • a form that starts and ends in a similar place, with satisfaction for the reader
  • a tightening of words so it doesn’t waffle
  • close perusal of any repeating or awkward words or phrases
  • something specific to say
  • relevance and consistency of style for the particular reader/recipient.

So how is that different to writing an article or book? It’s not. So the difference is only in my head. And, of course, it brings in dosh. We need dosh to live on, don’t we?

BUT:

I’m demonstrating a point here, so I will now go back and remove “dosh”. It doesn’t fit the style. I could put “bring home the bacon” – but that’s a cliché. “Money” is too weak: “…it brings in money.” No. Nor will I say: “…it pays the bills.” How many times have we read that? So hang on a minute while I get my brain to work *thud, thud, thud, whirr…*

Got it! I’d probably write: “And of course it is writing. Paid writing. I write to live. And that’s where I’ve been over the last goodness-knows-how-many weeks.”

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 17.34.45

The journal I commission and edit for BACP

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Thought I’d illustrate a hypothetical article about circuses! A sort of circle image with alterations. I did basic pen work first and scanned that in to finish off in colour digitally in Photoshop.

Then I went back to the pen version, which is on Bristol board, and finished it off with more pen. Still toying with the idea of adding watercolour on top for a third version, but maybe not… not enough hours in the day as it is! So here are just two versions.

Not sure which I prefer. It would be interesting to know if you have a preference. But I don’t suppose you have enough hours in your day either!

circus colour

pen circus

 

I seem to have spent much of May painting watercolour shoes. First I tried out some new Canson XL 300 gsm watercolour paper and did a few trials of modern ones. I do find feet shapes hard for some reason. But the painting was fun. And I added some scrawled pen lines as they were casual images really.

WC shoe collection

And then, because it had been so much fun, I had the bright idea of  pretending to illustrate a historical article on the evolution of women’s shoes. The first image is a sort of introduction to how we have always focused more on women’s shoes and feet. The others are from 16th, 17th-18th, 19th and 20th centuries respectively. The reason they are on a background is to give them some uniformity, like make them a set. I chose a clock face to indicate “timeline”, then gave them a segment each and simply positioned the shoe on the segment.

Screen Shot final feet

Screen Shot final 16th c

Screen Shot final 17th c

Screen Shot final 19th c

Screen Shot final 20th c

I spent some time last week doing pen and wash sketches of various kitchen items and various foodstuffs – mostly cakes and pastries. They are not meant to be accurate, rather an indication. And in the case of the kitchen items, I tried to remove mention of any branding but keep colours close enough that they would be recognisable for what they are.

I owe much to Yasmina Creates for kicking me off on this path although, as she told me, this is the first time she’s seen anything but pastries done in this style! Plus, I imitated her trademark flowery offerings by trying an image in similar style. Is this a style I want to pursue? Who knows? It could come in useful for illustration purposes. I certainly take to watercolour more when it’s used like this. We’re maybe not quite friends yet, but me and my pan sets are getting more of an acquaintance relationship recently 🙂

Eleanor Patrick cakes and pastries

Eleanor Patrick kitchen stuff

flower and wash2

The NHS in the UK has an acronym, CLANG, that stands for Connect, Learn, be Active, Notice and Give back – all things we should do every day to stay in a state of mental wellbeing. I hate being told what to do, but it did make some sense, so I self-initiated a task based on CLANG.

Here is the result. Looking at it on a non-retina screen, I do think I will go back in to each and make the highlighted word red instead of green. But apart from that, I am well pleased with my week’s efforts. Hope you like them. There is a certain satisfaction in making them all match in terms of colour and style, just like when I draw a child doing different things but always recognisable.

clang-x5-screenshot

After finishing two very intense weeks of serious work proofreading and copyediting, I got back to a couple of self-imposed tasks to illustrate two articles.

One was intended to honour some of the celebrities that died in 2016 (delayed from New Year – when it was at least relevant! – because my dad died suddenly). The other draws attention to the amazing number of crowdsourced activities currently happening. These seem to range from medical operations to new products to books to activities. Getting the money doesn’t seem to be a problem (the aspect I show here), but getting the market reach afterwards might be 🙂

My favourite of the two, though, is the celeb one – I wanted to show them (I hope you can recognise them!) refusing the die off, and the reaper’s angry look as their legend lives on. I hope you like them. Both started on paper and were coloured and finished off digitally.

crowdfunding-final

 

celebs-who-refuse-to-die-aoi

Over the last year or so I have only written articles, children’s picture books and some (many!) editorials. I do a lot of editing of sentence structure for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to refocus on the main point, sometimes to clarify the point I thought I had already made clear(!), and sometimes to fit the need for brevity.

It occurs to me that this year alone I have got letters published in the Daily Telegraph many times. Not long-winded, knowledgeable, informative ones. I leave that for the experts. Mine have been succinct, salient nuggets destined to cause a grin, a reaction or a very precise point. I claim this openly without pride. The reason is that you don’t get published unless your letter arrives exactly how they like it. It’s a salutary lesson in focus and crafting to editorial need.

Edit and re-edit

What no one knows is just how many iterations I scribe compared to how many I do for an editorial (three routinely) or a short story (a few). The ratio of revisions to word count is astronomical! I cut and move and alter and exchange until the shortness, succinctness and rhythm of the read (sometimes only two sentences) is as perfect as I can make it. And it’s written one day for publication the next, because relevance and fit move on rapidly in the news world.

Here are three of my successes (the first will not make sense without the trigger but that’s how you join in a conversation in Letters. That and starting with SIR!):

SIR: “Somewhat quaintly; not too sentimentally” (Letters, 6 March) is the most likely result, in my experience, if the piece is played on an old harmonium with bellows operated by foot pedals. “Somewhat breathlessly” will certainly apply.

SIR: On reading Shane Watson’s piece on what makes us posh or not (Features, September 6), I vividly recalled being at a small gathering of parents from the local private school. Suddenly a voice boomed: ‘Who cut the stilton like this?’ I glanced at my husband, who raised his eyebrows slightly and shrugged. To this day, I have no idea about stilton etiquette. And don’t care. If that’s classed as not posh, I’d rather be normal.

SIR: Keith Taylor’s simple solution of installing a call blocker (Letters, October 25) is unworkable. The firms involved regularly change their number and I have no wish to stand by the button rejecting each one.

I hope this inspires you to try writing a letter to the editor of your favoured newspaper or magazine. The year has been good to me in my writing world and I’m looking forward to Christmas and a few days’ break 🙂