Thursday, July 24, 2014

What it's like to solve problems when you're a writer AND an illustrator

My primary background is in graphics. Which is odd because I have this degree that says I can build things that people can live and work in. But the thing I walked away having learned and evaluated the most of, was simply graphics. The visual way of convincing someone I'm right. If I can fool you with what you're looking at, then I've done a good job. And I need to do it in the most professional way possible.

So when I moved into the world of illustration for Project Beta for ParaEducate, it was sort of a no brainer. Part of the beauty of "Bard in Stick Figures" is that it literally looks slapped together. this accomplishes two things.  The first is reminding my primary target audience, that some of our work needs to be "slapped together" at the last minute. The second is addressing the fear most people have about drawing. If I had a penny for every time someone said, "I'm not very good at drawing"; I'd be insanely rich at this point.

But even though I had finally gotten the text together for the new book, I had been dragging my feet on the illustrations. And I would have really loved to have the book out already. But such is the life of the author/illustrator/publisher. And I couldn't figure out why. I even started flipping through the original text which I was using to work from to help generate ideas. I thought I might have been too true to the original text [wholly possible as I spent many years in theatrical sets], I thought I didn't understand the text [wholly possible as it is Shakespeare], and I thought maybe this just wasn't as cool as I thought it could be.

One of the signs that bothered me was the book was only 80 pages long (40 pages published). Ambitious yes, but not impossible. But when it comes to publishing, this means that it's going to be really tiny. I thought about adding another section to the book, but then I realized, that I couldn't handle the pages where there were actual conversations. And this made me not want to finish the book. Unlike the first second where conversations weren't really a major element of the story, the other plays I had chosen to illustrate were all wrapped in conversations between characters. And then I realized, conversations happen over multiple pages through the illustrations--like a comic book.. Poof. My book is now extraordinarily viable at around 150 pages with illustrations (which means around 75 pages published).

Of course, I'm not sure how this will translate to publication as there are file restriction limits. But I don't care the book is working out finally. Yes that does mean the illustration count has moved proportionally so of 150 pages, 140 pages are original illustrations. But that's okay. I figured out how to solve the issues for the remaining two of three sections.

To give you an idea of how excited I am that this is possible and I'm making progress: I just finished 5 illustrations since 7 AM. While Facebooking, blogging, and spending 30 minutes walking to the Post Office and back (and not illustrating). Yeah. That means that this is the solution.

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