I've mostly been ignoring my smaller sketchbook lately and working in the "Quarantine Journal" sized one instead, but here are a couple of recent(ish) sketches from my daily walking path. I'm catching up on my scanning this week as I also finish the images for the book.
In big news yesterday, I bought a batch of ISBN numbers and registered the first one for P is for Possum. When I was working on the Mr. Darcy book(s), I really wanted the legitimacy and reach of a professional publisher, but my writing chops weren't strong enough, and that's a hard world to break into. For this book, which is so very local in scope, very specific to Memphis's Old Forest, it made sense to me to do this like my calendar and have it printed to sell locally. I also have no shows at all this year (though some lovely folks have sent commissions my way), thanks to the pandemic, and I really wanted something ready for the holiday season.
The other upside is being able to control the printings as I need or want, instead of that decision being in the hands of someone else. It's a lot like the legitimacy of a gallery giving you extra exposure, but you also lose control and autonomy by buying into that system. I may try for both publishing and commercial galleries again at some point when they make sense for my career, but I have to say that registering my own book yesterday felt both exciting and powerful. It's fun to give birth to something you've created purely on your own terms. I'll be registering with the Library of Congress as well, which will allow it to be bought by libraries, and I'm considering other platforms after the print version comes out in November. There's a big learning curve, but it's also exciting for a lifelong book nerd like me to be a small part of all this.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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