caralockhartsmith

stories and illustration

The Midnight Hare, page 21 rough

page21fifth

Late last night I experimented with putting this particular illustration on to a much paler background and it didn’t feel right at all; therefore I have decided to fill up the pages with colour and keep a specific margin throughout, the same colour as the paper on which the particular illustration is painting (here the margin is taken from another source, so is slightly different in tone). The paler margins didn’t work with having the words within the picture, there were too many things going on. I have also decided to simplify the text so it is sans serif – don’t know whether I will use the one here, it might be a tad “round”, though I like the darkness of it against the background. There is quite some time before I have to decide on what font to use.  But something unadorned. I didn’t envisage when I decided to take on the production of this book how many things would have to be considered – but in a way that is the point of the exercise, to learn during the process.

The birds tail might break into the margin! This way of doing things means that, apart from the two pages which go across the book and which have no margins, I will have to keep the imagery complete within the picture, I can’t have any nice Japanesy cut-offs of the main characters, unless the margin is made specific, which I don’t want – but so be it. We’ll see how it goes.

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Experiment: The Midnight Hare

experiment4

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 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Moonwuzo Books

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I have taken the decision to by-pass publisher and agents and to publish The Midnight Hare myself. I have opened a separate page for Moonwuzo Books on this site, and will add to it as the process develops – in the long run I will set up a separate website on WordPress.

The Moonwuzo, as I explain, is a character from Old Merlaine, and he will make a great logo.

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Picture Book – The Midnight Hare

midnighthare 1This is a detailed but unfinished rough illustration for a book called “The Midnight Hare”. About two years ago I wrote a script in two hours, one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon.  I had deep feeling about the script, but it has taken me all this time to decide how I am going to do the illustrations for this work.

When the pens I usually use, which were fine-nibbed true sepia in colour, were discontinued, and when watercolour itself wasn’t giving me the feeling I wanted,  I decided to try new techniques. I treated myself to a real extravagance,  a big box of gouache and a big box of crayons, artist quality, they are just delicious, I drool over them, and keep them all in order, which is so unlike my somewhat chaotic manner of work (though when I was very young I had a lovely box of conte crayons, in a metal box, and  even when my father got locked in the larder and I was the only person able to rescue him – I must have been about 4 at the time – I apparently insisted on putting the crayons back in the box in the right order before trying to get him out – he was expostulating all the while through that kind of mesh they had on larder doors).

I digress.

Using new media, and drawing with a fine sable brush, the feeling of the paintings that I have been working on are at last corresponding with the feelng I had when I first wrote the script. There is a graphic quality that I want to keep, but with gouache it is possible to build up colour, and to overpaint, without the work getting muddy. Also it is possible to paint light over dark. I had always intended to send this book out to various publishers, but after listening to two agents talking about the difficulties these days of getting work published, and the very long time it took, and other limitations, I suddenly realised that I would by-pass all that.  I wouldn’t look on publishing my own work as second best but as something I would like to do in itself, and would not bother to send it out to publishers at all.

As well as having a lot of work published in the past by large publishers, here and abroad, I have quite a bit of useful experience working on small press picture books, and I know that good sales are quite possible. We have a very proficient and friendly printer locally who are proper book publishers, which is an amazing piece of luck – and I have worked with them in the past on books for Serafina Press.  So rather than trawl my work round I have decided to wade in straight away and enjoy the whole process of writing and illustrating, production, costing, publicity and sales all on my own.

I will be blogging now and then on the whole process, I might even give the book its own website nearer publication, which won’t be until 2016.  Wish me luck.

August 20, 2015 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

   

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