I hope you've all been keeping well since my last dispatch in May. (May?! May. Wow.) I'm Lucy Bellwood and this is my very intermittent newsletter. I'm so glad you're here! (If you're done with being here, that's fine too. You can unsubscribe at the bottom of this message with the click of a button. Easy as pie.)
It's been a year of major transitions around these parts. I've officially moved back in with my parents to help look after my dad, whose vascular dementia has been worsening over the last five years. Words aren't really adequate for this—and the nature of the labor means that I'm often too tapped out to even consider making creative work that grapples with it. (It's also the reason I all but disappeared from Twitter and Instagram over the summer. There just wasn't room.) But I realize that I have managed to release a couple Rambles and quite a few blog posts that touch on various aspects of this season. I'm doing what I can when I can, because I do believe that talking about this experience is and will be helpful, either to me or anyone else who happens to be dealing with something similar.
When I last wrote, my latest collaborative project, Tell the Turning, had just launched on Kickstarter. Thanks to many of you, we had a lovely, stress-free crowdfunding experience and were able to send the book to press last month. I ended up producing some 40-odd inkwash illustrations to accompany my friend Tara Shepersky’s beautiful poems. Here’s a few of them on the wall at my studio:
The whole process was deeply soothing, and now copies of the book are now arriving with backers! The greatest joy. I’m drumming my fingers because my big box of contributor copies has yet to arrive, but the few glimpses I’ve seen so far are enough to have me salivating. (Just listen to the riffle of these pages!)
If you missed the campaign but like what you see and want to own a copy for yourself, you can snag one online at telltheturning.com.
The next biggest news is that I’ve started work on Seacritters!, the graphic novel trilogy of piratical animal capers I signed on to produce with writer Kate Milford last summer. These books are going to be my primary creative output for the next 6-8 years, but I’m trying not to think about that timescale right now. My goal since I started drawing in earnest two months ago has been to show up to the studio and produce at least two pages every weekday. So far so (mostly) good. You can read my first dispatch from the trenches, featuring some goofy badger expressions and an extraordinary amount of granular data tracking, here.
Although the book is being put out by an Actual Publisher (Walker Books!), the financial realities of tackling a project like this mean that it wouldn’t be possible without the support of folks on Patreon. If you’re looking for the best way to fuel my work over the next few years, that’s the place to be.
(I have a longer post brewing about how all the money stuff shakes out, because you know me and that’s what I like most in this life, but I was putting off writing the newsletter until I’d finished it and that was just silly because then it meant I wasn’t writing the newsletter or the money post, so I’ll just do it when I do it and write to you all again when it’s done. EASY.)
The Boat Gnome Mercantile is open for trades-by-mail this season! (If that sentence is gibberish, the blog post will explain.) I’ve received a few beautiful passages so far, including this one from Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, which I only just read for the first time in 2020. Thank you Claire for your beautiful stationery and handwriting.
The specter of Holiday Shopping is upon us, so I have some new prints and postcards available in my shop (along with the usual array of comics, stickers, and alarmingly soft demon plushies). Here’s a digital painting I did of the Ventura River Preserve here in Ojai:
Finally, I’ll leave you all with a quick list of things from other people that have been bringing me joy:
Matt released a new album that I’ve had on heavy rotation for days
Robin introduced me to Alberto Manguel’s rich, meandering essay collection, A Reader on Reading
Molly is about to release a fabulous card deck for cultivating a daily creative practice
Steve and Sara got a new cat and named her Spinch
Okay that’s it! If you want to tell me a little about what’s been happening in your world, I’m always happy to hear from you. You can write back to this message or drop me some physical mail at PO Box 734, Ojai, CA 93024.
Until next time,