I am discovering that it’s amazing how much needs to be done to get even a short book like mine to the print ready stage this end, let alone actually print ready. Proof-reading, editing, nit-picking, fixing wonky layout and fonts, checking, checking and triple-checking the Latin names, spelling and grammar, then sorting out all the rubbish hyphenation and widows/orphans.

I think we are nearly there. I am getting feedback from friends and family and walking the line between taking on board what they say but also being aware that I do have a feeling about how I want the book to be and feel and come across so need to honour that too. And not getting caught up in endless fiddling and striving for perfection. There is always the option of changing things after the first samples are printed, and also future compendium or expanded editions depending on the direction of travel.

I’ve wrapped the cps painting around the cover, and done the index and contents (which took an age!) and have consolidated all the pages to make sure they flow. I’ve worked on the book in between doing other stuff so it’d become disjointed and clunky which has now been fixed.

I am waiting for paper samples from the two printers that seem the most reasonably-priced and helpful, and once I’ve seen the quality of the print and feel of the pages I can get on and order some. I’m debating on whether to just get 10 or so, in case there are things we want or need to change, or to get say 50. The cost of 10 is a fair outlay but then we can at least check they are perfect. I’ve just googled for print services in my area as I’d rather have someone at least in the same or next county.

Now that book is reaching the end, I have made a start on the next one. I’m doing Coast & Clifftop Birds (or Cliff & Coastal Birds??) so have splashed about with some gouache and done a quick centre page. I had some beautiful Holbein paints for my birthday so am looking forward to comparing them to my usual Windsor & Newton.

They are little tubes so I am hoping they won’t dry out so quickly.

I have to paint a few more birds for this book so am getting on with some waders. I’m a bit hopeless at identifying them but I’m noticing more details and specifics as I look at reference photos, showing how drawing can really help cement these observations. I’ve added a couple of blank ‘notes and sketches’ pages to the back of my book so people can jot down what they see.

Right: on with the dunlin, turnstone, and redshank…

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