It has been more than four months since I last posted an image. Slightly longer than I thought it would be. But then the scale of my operation at the end of May was somewhat greater than I expected. Also unexpected, was the fact that I needed a second, albeit much more minor operation, two weeks later to finish the job. I cannot say that, as a means of relaxation, I can overly recommend having part of your skull scooped out and drilled then the new internal space packed with a surgical dressing. Though it did mean that I took a fair bit of time off. From everything for a while. The surgeon was true to his word in being aggressive in the removal of the tumour. I did have cause to say 'ouch' once or twice in the subsequent weeks. Afterwards, the surgeon described the tumour as having been extensive and in difficult to get to places. He also thought that it was unlikely that he got it all and that I would need to be operated on again. It is a case of waiting to see where it grows back and going for it. I have no idea what the time scale for this is. At the moment, every six weeks, he rummages around inside my head, takes some photos and does some icky stuff I won't describe here. All while I am awake. Thanks to the wonders of keyhole surgery there is not a mark on me. In the old days, he would have had to have taken off the side of my face to did what he did. I might have had cause to say ouch a little more then! As it is, it is amazing how much equipment they can get inside your head all in one go. All through the convenient access port of my nose!! The tumour was not malignant. Nor was it benign. It was a type called an intermediate.
There have been repercussions which have affected my ability to produce new work as quickly as I would have liked. One is the vision in my right eye has been affected. Hopefully not permanently. Again for icky reasons I won't go into, my vision gets blurred in that eye from time to time during the day. This would not be so bad if it were not for the fact that the right eye is my good eye. The lens in my left eye was replaced a couple of years ago (I know, what am I like?). That one has a fixed focus and is not so good on close up vision as a normal eye. It does mean when the right eye blurs, I can't actually see properly where the end of the pencil is on the paper. As a result, I sometimes have to guess or rely on intuition as to where to put the marks on the paper. Phew.
On the positive side. I am producing pictures again. The first, Stranded
, went up today. There are a number more that I have been working on. As they get to a point when they are ready to be seen, I will put them up. Which all things willing, should be over the next few days. When planning pics, I tend to work in groups. Rather than do one picture at a time, I prefer to have several on the go. It gives me time to think things over and develop them over a period of time. I am pleased with the way they are looking. At the moment, I am working on pencil images. I am really getting into them. Many will be turned into paintings as well at some stage. But for now, I realised that it would be good to do some finished pencil work as well.
I have also had my first book illustration commission for three years. I did not realised that it had been so long. I got the approach, from a publisher that I had not worked for previously, to see if I was interested in the job between the two operations. Not the best timing. Fortunately, the art director was willing to wait until I was ready and able to complete the commission. Often in the book industry the deadlines are crazily short leaving little time for any leeway. I got the job done and produced 24 pen and ink images for it. I'll make a note when the book gets published.
On the book front, I also learnt that the reprint of my Fantasy Source Book has sold around 4,000 copies so far. Which means that I will be due an Autumn royalty payment. Yay.
It is nice when they earn a bit more money a few years after you have done the work. Nothing to retire on. Don't believe the hype about earning big bucks from books. Unless you sell in mega numbers. Add two nought to that figure and I might get excited.