May 12, 2017
The Prisoner of Azkaban is finished. I’ll be honest, it just about killed me. I was completely burned out half way through Chamber of Secrets, and probably shouldn’t have gone straight from three years work on Potter into another year of very, very long days. So I’m currently on a break trying to get better again. I’ve still got a lot of letters to reply to. If you’ve sent me a letter or email, I’m so sorry if I haven’t replied to it yet. I receive quite a lot, and it takes a long time to get through them. I do try and answer them all, but it can take an embarrassing amount of time. Please forgive me!
Anyway, I’m finally doing the things I haven’t been able to do for over five years. Sitting in a room other than the studio, watching TV, gardening etc.
It occurred to me this week that I haven’t drawn anything for myself in something like seven years now, and so I’m hoping to to that this summer. I’ve got some form of RSI in my right arm from scribbling, so I’m going to try and learn to draw with my left. If I can sketch and make roughs with my left hand, it might give the right one a bit of a break (and with any luck, something new and less predictable will come out of it). I want to get started early on Harry Potter book four though, I really, REALLY wish to make a book that I can spend time getting right. So many illustrations i roughed out didn’t make the final books because of time constraints. No Ginny Weasley STILL, which is terrible, I know. Hopefully with this year off I can sit and plan book four with a bit less pressure.
I’ve been back to Calke Abbey again, which is one of my favourite country houses, and a constant source of inspiration for Potter, not so much in the architecture, but in all the little details. I used the gardener’s cottage as reference for Hagrid’s hut in Azkaban.
There is a blue paint that was used years ago at Calke, and I love the way it has aged. The house is a time capsule, with rooms left exactly as they were found. There is a patina across the whole house that has been made through years of use and neglect, it reminds me of the crumbling buildings if Venice.
Even the window frames have a fantastic texture