Here’s one final piece from the Guillermo Del Toro show (I know, but really, I couldn’t resist) – it’s not the most glamorous or polished instalment, visually – but without doubt, these hand-drawn spreads (and the other notebooks also on display) give a profound insight into the man’s thinking, process, and character.

Del Toro originally began keeping notebooks, like a lot of us do – because a busy brain can end up working on many things at once – and for some projects it can take years of idea-work to figure out all the needed parts. Accumulating the good solutions for later recovery is the only way to avoid having to do the work over and over again (conscious RAM being mostly-cleared, to work on each new problem in turn).

Then he had kids – and his notebooks changed – he began thinking of them whenever he wrote down his ideas – not just to leave them clues to the original inspirations behind his well-known works, but also, as he put it, to prove to them that…

“Adults have lives.”

Imagination really is a huge gift – and one wouldn’t want to be discouraging to the guy, and point out to him that there are many adults who do not actually enjoy his level of creative energy, verve and joy.

Besides which, I truly adore him reaching out this way – even if he is lying a bit. He’s right, kids do need to know that if they care to, they can turn into big-people over time, without having to give up on enchantment.

Not only because this insight could help relieve them of fear of over-seriousness (which some adults model for kids all-too-well), but also so they know investing in the development of imagination is never wasted.

Yes, imagination, empathy, and their product, enchantment, can be built-up, strengthened – steadily improved in skill, depth and reach – and if there are any human capacities which we could use more of in this bleak and frustrated time, I’m not sure I could name them.

As I mentioned before, it’s one thing to have the will to make a positive difference in the world — it’s quite another to be able to inspire others with that same glowing-sweet insight that clobbered you over the head at three AM and made you giggle!

Cover design clinic

Working on a piece of book design right now, as it happens – and this wall-full of inspiration came immediately to mind when I started thinking about the cover. Every one of these is a cover design for a different edition of (or variation on) Frankenstein. Nigh-on vertiginous variegation, no?

Thanks Guillermo – top-grade creative stimulus very-much appreciated!

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