Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Contrary Fairy

I’ve been churning out illustrations for ‘The Contrary Fairy,’ my beginners’ chapter book. It looks like it will actually be the next to be published, perhaps by mid-May.

That does depend on how much time I can spend on it with all the other stuff that calls for my attention. I’m pretty much finishing up the pictures and think I have enough done or near completion now.

I could have been more ambitious and turned out a LOT of pictures if I’d a mind to but the 18 I have should suffice. They are black and white, of course, and all drawn on the computer screen this time. Though if I don’t like some when they’re on the page, I may redraw with a real pen.

When I say ‘beginners’ for this book, I’m talking fairly sophisticated beginners. Or, ideally, adults willing to read to them. My touchstone for this sort of work would be the Thornton Burgess ‘Mother West Wind’ books – which I loved as a little kid. Never inclined to talk down to their audience, always with a bit of a poetic sensibility to them.

Here’s a little sketchy spot illustration of a wren I’ll be using. Some of the pictures will be in this style and some will be in silhouette form. 

The job now is to assemble the books – three versions, EPUB, PDF, and print – and to design the covers. Back to work!

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A note about word processors: I have abandoned the Windows WordPad for almost all uses. I used to do my first drafts, write my poetry, keep my journals, etc. in this program but it just adds too much odd formatting that carries over when I try to cut and paste to my final word processing or publishing program. Then the only way to get rid of it is to paste it into a plain text editor such as Notepad and then recopy to its final destination.

So I do almost all my writing now in OpenOffice Writer, which works well as copy and paste into almost anything. Or works well enough for a finished product, for that matter, though I’m trying to find time to learn to use the publishing program Scribus, if only for its more robust PDF output.

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