On *knot* getting tied up …

I’ve been busy for the past two days, working on gathering resources for creating images for a new book that I’m hoping to publish, once I a) find an agent and b) get a credible synopsis & example together. It’s a book of haiku, with (hopefully) gorgeous illustrations, meant for children or rather for teachers to use with children, to provide a rich resource that may spark their imaginations.

Sheepshank bw
Fishermen’s knots are such arresting constructions!

It’s always tricky though to start a picture off… blank canvases and the whiteness of the paper can be really daunting. I took a picture at the weekend that illustrates my feelings pretty well I think…

I love this image, the linear qualities are so arrestingly stark and definitive. It was the rope tying a boat to the harbour wall in what I think might be a sheepshank knot, but I am *knot* an expert (please, forgive the pun!) so if you know better, I’d love to stand corrected!

These ropes are so huge, almost a definition of strength and my mind wanders to the moment the knot has been tied. I imagine burly fishermen in yellow oilcloths attempting to lash the vessel to the safety of the wall during a violent, tumultuous storm. The wind is whipping the sea into spectacular sprays rising many feet above the harbour, crashing down onto the stone walls and depositing flotsam and jetsam willy-nilly. Still, the fisherman fights the elements bravely and his many years of experience give him the confidence and ability to tie his boat securely using this knot that his grandfather taught him. It has never let him down in the past and, sure enough, it hasn’t today. His livelihood and that of his own son’s, is safe and he can take shelter from the storm.

Ok… so I have an over-active imagination! But this is an essential quality for a writer and one that is important to nurture and develop. I think I’ve been a bit too tied up in knots about embarking upon the actual process of making my illustrations. On reflection, I think I should just get on with it.


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