Cabin in the Woods, the latest book to come from Tara Booth published by Colorama, delves into the artist’s struggle to find a balance in life. She’d written the story in her head over a few years and the beautifully illustrated outcome resonates with many in its concept, seeking to find an antidote for discontent.
“I’m constantly asking myself: ‘What do I need to buy? Who do I need to meet? And where do I need to go to finally feel okay?’” Tara tells It’s Nice That. “I have this recurring thought if I could just disappear and disconnect from the external world, I would finally find some inner peace,” and as a result, the artist has been constantly travelling and working over the past years to try and avoid these feelings.
However, before she packed up her bags once again to “go into hiding”, Tara decided to spend some time exploring the reality of this escapist fantasy. In Cabin in the Woods, the artist looks at the difficulties of living within the city, and in a second, she’ll try to depict a more realistic outcome of how well she’d actually fair in the woods by herself. Lastly, as a conclusion to both books, “I’ll paint a story that illustrates the ultimate goal, to find some kind of balance and comfort in myself,” says Tara.
As she continues to release book after book, the artist has learnt to trust herself more within the creative process. “I have these terrible periods of creative constipation where I don’t make anything at all, the anxiety of planning a new book in its entirety is so daunting,” Tara goes on to say. “The ideas I’m working with are very close to my heart and constantly on my mind, so I’m just trying to trust that there’s enough material there for me to develop organically into a story without having to do much preemptive storyboarding or writing.”
She works directly onto bristol paper, sketching out an intuitive composition in her signature fluid style. Then, she carves away at it for ten minutes or so, until she develops a solid idea of what she wants to paints, before going over the page with a final coating of gouache paint. “Once I start painting, I’m able to disappear into the work for hours, it’s pretty much the only time I feel calm, so I’m impatient to get to that step.”
Continuing to work away in the safe space that is her bedroom, Tara hopes to release an extensive graphic novel which reaches over 100 pages. She’s also interested in working on more textiles or clothing designs, or even a cartoon series. All in all, she’s hoping to save up for a cabin of her own one day and maybe get a dog or two to keep her company while she focuses on work. “That’s all part of the fantasy,” says Tara. “I’ll probably stay on this hamster wheel of ‘want’ forever. Mostly, I hope that people who are on a similar path to me will see what I struggle with and laugh at my work and feel less alone. I like putting my anxieties on paper for others to see and respond to!” And on top of all this, Tara’s work is as lyrical and visually poetic as ever.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.