Patricia Storms is an author/illustrator of 30 children’s books and humour books. She has also worked as a Graphic Designer, Library Technician, and book binder. Her most recent titles are Moon Wishes, If You’re Thankful and You Know It and By The Time You Read This. Patricia’s next book will come out Spring 2021 with Groundwood, entitled The Dog’s Gardener, and illustrated by Nathalie Dion.
Describe your workspace.
I have too many work spaces right now.
Lately I have ended up working in my living room — writing and drawing. I have a computer room upstairs where I have done my colouring work in the past (Photoshop) and my drawing room is also upstairs. For some reason I feel less lonely working in my living room — plus the light is pretty good. Not great, but ok. I’m not sure why, but I suddenly got hit with a big case of loneliness about two years ago and the end result is this pile of stuff in our living room. It’s not great for my back either, sitting on my soft couch leaning over my laptop, but that is the way things are at the moment. I am in part working away from my computer when it comes to the drawing because I’ve been experimenting with traditional illustration, mainly pencil work and pencil crayon. I’m having a lot of fun, and hopefully am improving.
Describe a typical workday.
None of my days are typical, heh. I wish I could say I have a routine, but my brain has never really worked that way. Either I’m busy doing a book project, or I am drawing to improve my skill, or writing, writing, writing. Or I’m wasting too much time on Facebook. I’ve been doing a lot more writing lately, which I truly enjoy. If memory serves me correctly (and these days, it’s a crap shoot) I did a lot more writing than drawing when I was young. If not writing or drawing or napping (heh) I might be swimming or reading or going for a walk, or attending a launch or presenting to a school or library. I also love music, so I try to fit in ukulele practice in there, as well as singing. I was in a women’s choir for a couple years, and am interested in another choir closer to home. The singing really helps me to feel like a human being on this odd planet. I’d love to do a book about music from a layperson’s perspective one day…
List three of your most favourite things in your workspace and why they are meaningful.
This is difficult to answer because as I have gotten older I have become less and less attached to things. It’s good for one’s sanity. But having said that….I love working in the living room because it gives me a perfect view of some of my favourite photos of my husband Guy, and all the beautiful cats we have had in our marriage (25 yrs!). Other than that, I have a big Starbucks mug which is brown with pink heats on it and that is my favourite coffee mug to get me going in the morning.
Do you have any rituals in your work habits?
Other than panicking from time to time and eating too much from the fridge, I don’t think so.
What do you listen to while you work?
In the past when I have had big colouring projects I enjoyed listening to music to zone out. I love pretty much all music except for really negative stuff, so it can be ABBA or Queen or The Beatles or Beethoven or Arlo Guthrie. But these days drawing or writing, I love complete silence.
What is your drink and/or snack of choice while you’re working?
Coffee, coffee, coffee. I really need to stay away from the fridge.
How do you develop your story ideas? Do you use an outline, let the muse lead you, or another technique?
A bit of the muse leading me — being relaxed really helps. If my brain is tight, things don’t work as well. Walking or being in a dream state is helpful. Also conversations with writers or sometimes even strangers. I’ve got a few good book ideas from talking to strangers on my travels. I guess I have good taste in strangers.
If you were forced to share your workspace but could share it with anyone of your choosing, who would it be?
I’d really rather not share, thank you. 😉 But if I HAD to, I would say my husband, because we have managed to share work environments in the past without killing each other.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve heard or received?
I’m paraphrasing here, but it would have to be that ultimately you have to be confident and secure in your own voice & writing, because no one else is going to do the work for you. Well I guess someone could, but then what would be the point?
What media do you use and which is your favourite?
In the past I have hand drawn with a brush & india ink and then coloured in Photoshop. I am now playing with pencil crayons. I’d also really like to experiment with Procreate in the future, if possible. Hard to pick a favourite, but I am loving the traditional methods of illustration, and getting my hands dirty again! Eraser bits and ink stains galore.
Thanks to Jennifer Chambliss Bertman for the use of her Creative Spaces interview questions.