Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Perfect Background

It's been a while since I've posted anything here. One reason for this is that I've been really busy working on a book written by Danny Parker, called Perfect

Danny tells how the idea for Perfect came about when his daughter asked for 'a crayon and somewhere to scribble'. Danny was immediately drawn to the simplicity and beauty of this statement and developed an evocative text based around this one line. It became a collection of idyllic moments in the day of a child, and it's beautiful. 

I think we have a pretty idyllic life here in Orange, about four hours west of Sydney, in New South Wales, Australia. We go on picnics, explore caves and swim in creeks, dams and water holes. Soon after reading Perfect, a group of my friends and our kids had lunch by a creek that runs through my dad's farm. We watched the kids, insanely happy just getting their feet wet in the creek and hanging out on a pile of dead wood. I hadn’t started the book at that stage, but stored that moment in my mind as that of utter perfection for a child.

Three of my friend's children were there on the day of the Perfect epiphany. Together they explored the creek and looked after each other.

I was certain that these kids were the ones to tell the story.

This day reminded me of my childhood, the picnics we went on and the adventures we made for ourselves, on a log, around a creek or up a tree. 

I began my illustrative process by going through photos that my mum had taken during my childhood and therefore developed a very personal response to Danny’s text.  

Then, based on Danny's text, I created a list of moments I considered perfect – sitting on our back verandah, 

drawing everywhere, 

getting to make whatever you want in the kitchen, making a huge mess and not having the clean it up, going for a walk, stopping whenever you want to look at things and then walking along someone’s stone wall, reaching farmland, seeing cows, crossing a creek and going to the beach, essentially the freedom to do exactly as you please, but with the safety of a home to go back to.

I found the rough storyboard combined with Danny’s text quite joyous. Reading it was like taking a deep calming breath and a bad mood was instantly alleviated. Hopefully it will have the same effect on anyone who reads it! And hopefully families will read it and be reminded to slow down and do something so ordinary it feels magical!