The Midnight Hare: Page 15

page15This was one of the illustrations that worked first time off.  In this earlier saved file, I have not taken out the “edge line”, where I copied the original image on to the plainer background. In the final image I carefully blended the edges by deleting the edges of the overlaid image so the underlying plain background showed through; and softened the inner lines of the pastel paper, though in places left the slightly corrugated look, as it fitted in with the tree trunk and the quality of the moonlight and the light of the lamp. Photoshop is invaluable, but it can be overused. I like the feeling of original line and brushwork, there is a depth and a surface difference that can be wiped out by over-use of Photoshop on the scan of an original painting.

page 15

There was only one line of text on this page, which I set high up on the left: “He found he was all alone.”

Painting on brown paper was integral to this story, but looking at an image from another book I illustrated, I can see how vibrant colour can be against white. Each book has its own language.

Keeping to my decision, I shall now send out some more feelers to try and sell copies of the book.  Where it is for sale it is selling well, happily. I think all the boxes in the cupboard wore me down a tad, but then it occurred to me that they are going down slowly, and there is no set time for selling the books. At the beginning I thought everything had to be done in one great push, but of course, in self-published work this does not happen like this.

I am loth to push my work, it is much easier when a publisher is in charge of all this and you get sent hither and thither to do projects with children, which are fun, and which sell books, and all the rest of the publicity is done by the publishers’ marketing department. But this self-publishing malarkey is a slow burn. There will be a big push on my part locally just after Christmas, when local outlets start to stock up. I am not sure about the Christmas market, I think there is so much else out there this book will get swamped.

However, it does no harm to get The Midnight Hare out there in the world. And people do seem to like the story, I don’t think they are just being polite. I am grateful to the printers for doing a good job on its production. It doesn’t look cheap and cheerful, it has a certain weight, it has been printed on good paper. It feels nice to pick up and riffle through. The “feeling” of the book as a physical object has always been important to me. This is something that publishers in the US seem to get right. Their production qualities are often so good.

Enough already. Time for a cup of tea…..

 

The Midnight Hare: pages 17 and 18

pages17and18jan29

One of the most difficult things to do has been to decide on the page structure of The Midnight Hare. This is one of the few double pages where the words are not integrated into the pictures. I have fiddled around with the width of the margins, and have settled on something in the region of 9mm/10mm, with a 3mm bleed.  I would have liked to have the margins even smaller, but because of setting up the images with the bleed all round, I think I underestimated how narrow  8mm would be. I have not had any straight edges round the paintings, this is deliberate, I wanted a hand-made feel, so the pictures were spilling into the surrounding background, rather than the brown acting as a frame.  I did a lot more work to these two pictures, which has made them more vivid, so I am quite pleased about this. I shall start putting on the text next week, for which I need to use Adobe Acrobat.

The Midnight Hare: Flying Home

pages26and27

Most of the scans are now done, and I am testing out two pages set against each other. Usually I would work on a double page spread, but because of the paper I chose, which was in smallish blocks, and also due to having a worktable that is quite small and always totally covered with layers of stuff (all being used), I did the illustrations on separate pieces of paper.  This is really not to be advised, but is producing some interesting juxtapositions. Anyway, the book is what it is, by now.  The borders on the finished pictures will be narrower than in this example, as I don’t want too much brown in the book. These scans are a touch hectic in colour, but this may tone down when they are full size, and in CYMK format. I shall check this when I go up to the printers for a pre-print meeting. What I do feel cheerful about is that I have learned so much, so far, and have a lot more to learn, which is all to the good.

The Midnight Hare, page 28

page 28

This is the first page that as been set up to print, original in PDF, though this is a jpeg. It  will be necessary to go over to Adobe Acrobat to put in the text, then store on the desktop until the book is put on to disc. I have thought for a long time about how to present The Midnight Hare, as most of the words are to be incorporated in the paintings; and I have decided to go for a rough edge – this takes far more time, as the Photoshop magic wand doesn’t really work with this, as the margins aren’t that clean, and it is inclined to pick up colour in the painting itself. However, I like the hand-made look. The new scanner has arrived, the blues are coming out fine, and not breaking up as they did before. The skies will need work on the computer to eliminate some of the stripeness, which comes  from the paper, but a little bit of this is OK, I think it adds to the slightly crafted look, rather than having a shiny, hard-edged appearance. It is a relief to have decided on the method, now there is a lot of hard work ahead.