In the beginning.....
.....there was a girl and her coffee, and possibly a selection of annoyances brought on by people....genreally. This, Is Bean. Full name 'Beatrix Eva Flowers', she is an aspiring musician who loves David Bowie, playing bass and river walking. To help pay for her flat in York, she started a 20+ hour a week job in one of York's busiest coffee shops. Cue several anecdotes of awkward, and sometimes infuriating, customer requests and complaints, all woven into a life inspired by personal experiences, music, cats, interesting neighbours and the desire to finally be recognised creatively, it creates the illustrated novel 'Bittersweet Bean'.
That there is just a little intro to what this project is. For those of you new to me, my name is Laura Howley, also known as 'thathungryartgirl' on the majority of my social medias. I am already a semi-professional artist based in York, who specialises in acrylic paintings, but nearly a year ago, I felt like taking on something a bit different. Oddly, the idea came to me while I was a bit bed-ridden. I had just come out of hospital with a severe infection, having spent most of my 8 days there in the quarantine room, with no internet and hardly any TV. I had just arrived at my grandparent's family home in the middle of the Northern countryside, and the idea just popped into my head after power watching the new 4 episodes of Game of Thrones. I, myself, work in hospitality, and you could say 'some' of the inspiration for the customers come from my many years of having to serve them. Whether it be York, Darlington, Melbourne or Australia/UK in general, I have served that kind of person more than once in my time. I think as well, I like to think of 'Bittersweet Bean' as relate-able to a lot of creatives today. We try so hard to get noticed, to make our mark, but it's just so hard to do. We can try as hard as we can, and hope eventually we'll get our 'big break'. Until then, we are kind of stuck just trying as hard and as often as we can to improve our craft and just hope someone important sees what we can do and takes a chance on us. It is the curse of the creative.
Anyway, enough of that for now. I'll end this post with my first sketch of what will most likely be the front cover of the illustrated graphic novel. Its shows Bean sitting on her bed in her studio flat, with a view of York outside her window, looking somewhat frustrated behind a happy mask that has begun to crack around the edges. Oh, did I mention that she has a secret magic happy mask to help her affect a happy persona when dealing with people? No? Well, you can find out more about that as the story unfolds. Until then, enjoy the draft front cover!
If you'd like to keep up to date with this project, please do subscribe. I crave the attention. Do also check out my Wordpress site. It's quite extensive and has my whole portfolio of paintings.