stories and illustration

An Experiment: The Midnight Hare


There was a problem with margins in the book (too narrow), and problems with integration of content. When I enlarged the margins so the painting wasn’t too near the edge of the page, the whole thing looked much too brown, because of the strength of the background paper. Also I have used different browns for different scenes in the book, and this would have made the appearance of the book patchy (there is a word I am looking for here but I don’t know what it is, even after consulting Roget: harmony is the nearest I can come to it this evening – harmonisation maybe – yes, I want to harmonise the illustrations). I have decided to have a rough margin, though probably less rough than above, and include all the text within the illustration, and then have a margin round about on paler paper, and use this paler colour for every illustration.  It is quite a late stage to decide to do this, but I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders.  I think the framing enhances the painting, whereas having a wider brown border was oppressive. Having computer programmes that mean one can make experiments without repainting everything is so liberating, as is painting with gouache and neocolor wax water-soluble crayons and ordinary crayons on coloured paper, as it is so much freer than pen and ink and watercolour.  If the manufacturers hadn’t stopped making my favourite sepia drawing pens I might never have experimented, and would have done myself out of a lot of fun.

April 17, 2017 - Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , ,


  1. I like this look Cara. Putting a book together is so much more work than I imagined. Seems you’ve been wrestling with ‘The Midnight Hare’ for years! Hopefully, for your sanity, it nears completion 😉


    Comment by clinock | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  2. Hello, John. I’ve not visited WordPress properly for a while, it is good to come back to interesting comments – we have been down in Huddersfield for a week, visiting family – we spent a great day at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which to me represents human beings interacting with the environment at their and its best. I am very glad that you like the look of the roughly framed paintings, it is a relief to me to have decided to do the book like this, it followed a conversation with my son about how some self-published books look amateur because of the margins, the lack of care etc. Anyway, no, I am not going mad, I have been doing other things apart from this story, and it has been such a gift to be able to spend some time on trying to find a way of doing the book that suits me, having struggled for years to earn enough to live on from my work, and having to work to externally imposed deadlines (which in my early days I sometimes missed, not realising how important it is to abide by the terms of one’s contracts). I have had a lot of dealings with publishers and agents, and have learnt a lot from them, and have met some wonderful editors; but this time I wanted to go it alone. The possibilities these days are so different from say twenty years ago, and I thought the whole process would be so interesting. Also this book feels very personal, and I wanted to do it under my own terms. My deadline for the printers is October, and the book will come out in March – my own deadlines this time!


    Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | April 18, 2017 | Reply

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