Nat Blog

(It’s the Way that You Do It!)

The Idea Develops

The Idea Gets Some Interest

The Idea Takes on a New Direction

The Story Emerges

A Commitment From a Publisher

Checking the Text

Finding the Characters

Finding the Characters

Getting the Paints Out

All About Line Drawing

Finding the Painting Style

A Happy Accident

Choosing The Colours

3 - Nat the Cat Puts on His Hat
The Idea Gets Some Interest



At a meeting to discuss possible new projects, one of my publishers says to me ‘What we’d really like from you is a new character-based series of picture books.’ I laugh and reply ironically, ‘Well I’ll bring that in next Monday then!’ What I mean is that these things don’t show up to order; the Duck in the Truck series started back in 1998 as a single idea which then grew organically over the next ten years into a collection of stories. There was no original intention for it to be a series - the stories suggested themselves to me book by book as I came to know the characters. (In other words, I had just 'followed the Moose'.)


The idea of planning a series from the outset seems to me to be coming from things at the wrong angle and I worry that this goal-led approach will compromise the spontaneity of the writing. However, I can see that this thought itself is perhaps a constriction on my creativity; maybe there is a new series in me just waiting to be found and the only thing keeping it out of sight is my inability to conceive that I can do it!* I decide to open to the idea that I can do it and as I sit in the meeting my mind starts drifting back to Nat the Cat. Nat the Cat Put on His HatI feel the tingle that I get when a new book becomes a possibility – dare I believe that this is Nat’s time to pull on his hat and step forward? I leave the meeting promising to return soon with my Nat the Cat material.


*In order to create (or achieve) something, you first have to believe that you can do it; the belief itself seems to open the door to making it a physical reality.

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