<- my otter. Maybe he needs his own book to star in...
In the old days we illustrators kept clip files or morgues of photos and illustrations of random things to refer to later, and to draw from.
It's hard imagining what a $100 bill looks like when you're on a tight deadline at the newspaper and none of the account executives have anything bigger than a $20 on them; dig through the clip file and it's there.
I had dozens of pictures of money -- and five file drawers stuffed full of other images on a hundred topics.
Nowadays I just search online for help with what I'm imagining in my head. Combine a bobcat, a snow leopard and a person for a caricature? No problem: Google Images has changed the way I live.
I've dismantled part of the morgue; it's hard to get rid of all of it, but it's been years since I used any of it.
I otter just get rid of all the files, to make room for more books...
That's my biggest vice. I can go without food or new clothes. I can't go without books. And it's not just me -- my husband and kids are all voracious readers.
Our books are all over the house, disorganized and sometimes hard to find. We have a few hundred in each of the kids' rooms, a few thousand in the basement, a zillion in the living room, and who knows how many in my studio.
My daughter's middle school had a used book sale in November, and she got a prize for donating the second largest number, 500, and we bought and brought home almost as many from the sale...
I otter get some shelves. Floor to ceiling.
The book depository here (Sarah Sullivan's at Through the Tollbooth) is what I crave for my collection.
My pal Debbie Diesen has a wall like that at her house, too.
I otter write something compelling so I can make enough $$ to hire someone to build that kind of shelf wall for me (because I'm no carpenter).
So that's it. My 2009 Resolution is not to eat less or exercise more (those are mandates, not mere goals): It's to write lots of compelling stuff. Compelling = a good hook.
Back to work... :)