It has been a mixed year of sadness and smiles and much creativity.
The passing of Terry in March, although not unexpected, was a great loss, not only to his family and closest friends but to all of us who have enjoyed his creations and shrewd observations over the years. I am proud to have known him and to have been able to collaborate with him and I remain always thankful that he liked my work and allowed me to wander his Discworld with my sketchbook.
When the call came to tell me of his death on the morning of the 12th of March I was working on my first draught for the cover of The Shepherd’s Crown and it is undoubted that my feelings leaked down my pencil into the drawing and Tiffany developed a sorrowful gaze.
When I amended the cover for a second draught I had come to terms with things a little and I think it is again reflected in the face of Tiffany. This time she looks perhaps a little sad but I like to think that her knowledge of the patterns of life and natural order of things shine out with a touch of defiance mingled with an inner peace and happiness. I choose to celebrate Terry’s life and all the joy it brought to many and I hope my final cover of a Discworld novel pays tribute to him as a fitting mark of my great respect.
The Tiffany Aching books are special to me as both Terry and I share a love of the Chalk landscape where he lived and for a time so did I. Capturing aspects of this special place is always a treat for me and working on The Shepherd’s Crown was a moving experience, as I drew I remembered the conversations Terry & I used to have about gardening, folklore and recipes for nettle soup (good fodder for starving artists!) The chalk landscape with its ancient drove roads and wide skies seemed to exert a creative energy for us both. I am comforted by the knowledge that this landscape will endure: the stars will continue to wheel above it and the ancient barrows and secrets buried beneath the turf bear silent witness to mans brief life. Our time is short, we must endeavour to make the most of it and take care of the natural world around us which generates so much inspiration. Terry’s writing helps to remind us of this, which is just one of the reasons I will always be grateful to him.
On that note I wish you all a peaceful Christmas time, may your nearest and dearest be close, in person or in spirit.