It feels like I have illustrated this book a thousand times. In reality, it is about 7 times. Still, I was never happy with the composition of each page and the end result. Everyone who saw previous iterations loved them...but still, I knew they weren't quite up to par with my vision for it. This illustration belongs to the first book I wrote that gave me the confidence to pursue writing and illustrating children's books. I love this story. It took a while, and a good amount of learning, but I think I have finally 'cracked' it. I am finally as excited by the illustrations as I am the story. I am almost finished the dummy for this book and I can't wait to submit it. Treasures on this page include the Stanley Cup, a stethoscope, an anchor, the medicine wheel for the Anishnaabe (Toronto First Nations people) on a surfboard, and the nautical flag shown means "pilot on board". (hehe). There is a running nautical gag throughout the book. Lots for kids to enjoy and enough for parents and adults to appreciate even if you are reading it over and over again.
Here is the latest re-do of my chapter covers - this one is for Chapter 2 - The High Priestess. Comments are always welcome.
Taking a brief break before I tackle the 4th revision on CLEAVE my YA novel (joblakely.com) to play with the Art Nouveau style covers for my graphic novel Paris Ballad which will also be published under the name Jo Blakely. Thinking of re-doing the other chapter covers that I have already done - but not quite happy with. This one is for Chapter 6 "The Lovers".
I am desperate for input and feedback. Paris Ballad, the 350 page graphic novel I am working on (and have already completed over 90 pages in a greyscale pencil style, I have been considering re-doing by inking and adding red and blue overlays as well. I'd love feedback as to what people prefer. I dread re-doing all 90 pages and the greyscale would be cheaper to print, however the colour might be more interesting visually. Please help me decide. If you don't think it makes that much of a difference, I'd like to know that, too! In the color version I have made some editing changes so far as well, so they aren't identical...but still, you get the idea.
I am very pleased to say that I have finished the first draft of a YA fantasy novel based on Arthurian literature which I have been a fan of forever. Very excited about my story and have put it aside for a couple of weeks in order to get a fresh perspective when I come to edit it. I know I have to change the beginning (too much backstory) and weave what I need to into the main story, but overall it works. I have a sequel or two in mind as well! So, while I wait I am playing with the new software (see previous post). I played with doing a cover for the next chapter in my graphic novel (Paris Ballad). Here it is: It looks significantly different than the previous ones which were bolder looking. Not sure which I like better. Still, it works on it's own.
Getting to the finish line is always so hard. I think it is for a few reasons. I am on the 7th iteration of creating the illustrations from my picture book "Way to Go, Kid!". I love the story. So, it is a good start - but as I get to the end of illustrating - I find I am not entirely happy with it. Early on, in the initial versions, I rushed it and did it too fast - plus it was all in watercolour - the pages too large and unworkable for me, and the page numbering and double page spreads - not as well planned as they needed to be. This time I have it much better. I am mostly happy with it, though as I near the end and have spent so many years on it I find myself still not as happy as I'd like to be. Everyone else likes it. They liked the last version too. The problem of course is as time passes and I learn more, I learn things I think could make it even better. My technique improves over that time resulting in a lingering dissatisfaction that ---it could be better. It is a never-ending cycle and the only standard I can ever meet is - good enough, which like most artists is not good enough! I can't wait to begin to send this baby out into the publishing world. I also think that is also part of the problem of finishing it. I have no excuse not to send it out for judgement into a very small and selective world and that too is nerve-wracking. And of course, it is saying goodbye to the creative portion of the work. Saying goodbye in many ways to the story - at least for a while. That said, I have a good 2-3 weeks of work left on it but I am going to try to enjoy every single minute of it. Then on to a story that is more Middle Grade chapter book than anything but it has been patiently waiting for my attention.
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
Copyright © 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 little jo (Jo Swartz) All rights reserved.Please do not copy or use these images in any way without express written consent. You will be sued and/or publicly shamed