I'm not having fun with this book and until today, I wasn't sure why. The story is fun. The author's have provided plenty of ammunition for me to create a humorous tale. Should have been having a ball. But I wasn't.
At first I thought it was the issue of the contract. Took six months to get the contract negotiated and I still don't have a signed agreement or an advance. But I've had pleny of work, so that's not it.
I developed the characters. Got 'em approved. Created a dummy book made up of thumbnail sketches. Got 'em approved. Sketched the first two spreads. Bored.
On the third spread as an experiment, I cut loose. The style I have developed and used on my last couple of books have bound my hands. I've probably relied too much on on trying to develop a gimmiky style. So, I put the straight edge away and tossed out all photo references of the animals. I've discovered that drawing from memory allows for a certain loose spontanaety that is lost when relying so heavily on photos. You can always go back and correct the sketches if, say, later you realize that cows have hooves, not fingers like you remember. By loosening up my pencil strokes and letting the line communicate mood, I think the end result will have a much lighter, expressive feel. Lastly, I worked in some of my own humor. THAT'S IT!
On my last few books, I sort of created my own style. Sort of a forced combination of neo-cubism, naive, folk, cartoon, trying-to-be-like-Mark-Buehner, realistism. I guess that would be like a musician mixing the sounds of soul, techno, rock-in-roll, country and classical, with a touch of Michael Jackson. Sound kinda cool, but wouldn't it be easier to just be myself?
So thats what I'm doing. NOW I'M HAVING FUN! And hopefully that will show through in the final product.