Your usual practice is to study the trees, and create your characters or ‘beings’ from them. How did you approach the project creatively without that visual source?
I had a few really positive, encouraging and honest conversations with Stuart at the very beginning of working on the Lyric book. I really couldn't have asked for a better person to be working with. Stuart was completely open to me creating whatever felt right, with the main focus being on just having fun. I can't describe how amazing that was, it still leaves me blinking with a silly smile on my face when I think about it....I felt so honoured to be the person who was now responsible for creating the illustrations for this Belle & Sebastian lyric book.
So my approach was to close my eyes and repeatedly listen to one of the songs from the list Stuart provided me with. In that time, I would try to squash all the anxiety out of me to find the imagery the music conjured up in my mind. Then I sit in silence and draw. I was mostly using coloured pencils, a few illustrations are just graphite and a few are watercolour with pencil.
I would explain my thinking behind each illustration to Stuart, to help him better understand what I was drawing. As it felt really important to not be too literal in the illustrations, as I didn't want to break the magic each Belle & Sebastian song will have cast in people’s minds.
So even though resisting the storyline as my visual guide felt quite a challenge, I hope what I created purely enhances the musical experience for everyone.