One of the questions authors and illustrators frequently hear is "Where do you get your ideas?" The other day I watched myself actually "Get An Idea," and decided to document it.
I was preparing to wash out the bathtub. As I picked up a sponge and the can of Comet, I gazed idly at the tub interior. My eye was suddenly caught by a pattern of hairs that clung to the bathtub wall.
"That looks like a face," I thought. I shook some Comet onto the sponge. Then I paused. "No---wait." I got out a sketchpad.
I first drew the actual arrangement of hairs. (And of course my photo would also record this.)
I then reworked the sketch, trying to capture the humanoid my mind's eye had seen.
Perhaps, though, it was not a humanoid, but an animal. (I would actually like to say, "an animaloid"---since my animals often look like people, and my people often look like animals). So I reworked it again.
And will this "idea" lead to anything? Who knows? That is the wonderful, frustrating thing about ideas: Sometimes they germinate and grow into fabulous realities. Other times, they stay dormant---nothing more than scraps of scribbled-on paper in the file cabinet.