Monday, 1 October 2012

Getting On With The Book.

Sadly I have had to give up the idea of colour illustrations for my book. The cost would make the book far too expensive. Ridiculously expensive in fact.  This of course is why books rarely have colour illustrations. Imagine paying £30 quid for a paperback! Yes, I know my book is probably worth that even without colour, but I would like to sell more than one copy.

So we are thinking of, or toying with, the idea of giving the book a kind of retro feel. Stuart's idea, but it sounds good to me. It will fit with the era the book is set in, the 1950's. Gawd! Am I really that old?

The book will have illustrations hopefully, but they will be in black and white. I say hopefully because I don't yet know what effect they will have on the overall cost. Although it does seem quite easy to get them into the manuscript. Maybe it won't cost extra.

Anyway things are moving along on the project. I think Stuart is more or less happy with it so far, apart from one or two minor tweaks I may have to do.

Tonight I have spent some time doing a couple of pen and ink drawings for the book which I thought you might like to see. One of them I have rather ruined. That is the one with the child in the high chair. I was attempting to get a sense of the dingy atmosphere of the room, but overdid the shading. I shall redo that one.  It demonstrates that things do not always go right. Hardly ever actually. By the way, if you want to know why there are pigeons mating outside the window, well you will have to wait for the book to find out.

This one has been thoroughly overdone. Click to enlarge.
I am quite happy with the second drawing. The woman represented is a welfare officer taking me away from my Mother. Sad isn't it? I have given myself a big tear to add to the heartbreak. Oh dear, just look at that unhappy little chaps face.
This is OK I feel. Maybe I should stick to line drawings like this.

It is amazing that these two supposedly simple drawings actually represent almost five hours work. What with the thinking time. Planning time. Starting again time. Correcting mistakes time. Feeling despondent time. Even then, once I have done all the drawings I shall probably do them all again, until I am really happy with the final result. But it will be worth it in the end I hope, with a book to be proud of. I want it to be the best I can possibly get it.

I am still worried about your reaction. I have to tell you it is a shocking read. Appalling at times. Searingly honest. Well you know me by now. I do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve.


  1. Your drawing is proceeding in the right direction. Use of line, contour, composition to convey a dramatic moment is crystalized in example #2. You are an artist, I know, and what your book wants is an accomplished illustrator. Happily, you appear to be that too!

  2. Will you stop worrying about what we think!
    We love you and that's the end of it.
    Jane x

  3. I feel that the pen and ink drawings will convey exactly what a good illustration should. As far as worrying about what others think... don't. You set out to tell the truth. Often the truth is not flattering. And often the unflattering part is what sells books. Think about that.

  4. I love you too John and it would take more than a shocking and sometimes appalling book to chase me away... bring it on John Boy, I can handle the truth!!

    I really like the child in the high chair. Would shading the walls behind the high chair and just under the window, leaving a small area around the windows unshaded, give the effect of dingy atmosphere? Also lightly (lighter than the walls) shading the childs face?

  5. I absolutely love the drawings and am glad the color is too expensive. I think they will fit perfectly with the book. And like the others say, don't worry about what me might or might not think. You're writing a book to get your story out, don't worry about us ;-)

  6. The drawings are great and I really like black and white better than color.

  7. Another vote here for black and white drawings, they are perfect. The second one says it all, a child being taken to a place where he doesn't want to go. Keep on with it, things don't happen overnight, it will be brilliant I'm sure.

  8. Oh that's brilliant, John. Black and white have such impact. it's definitely better than colour. Colour could add a touch of frivolousness - don't you think - and that would be all wrong. Keep on keeping on, you're doing a grand job.

    And will you please stop worrying about us.

  9. That is a fabulous idea. Illustrate the book yourself with line drawings. Simple and sad. The truth can be shocking but its real and understandable not shocking. Bring it on!

  10. John, I agree with the others here. The black and white illustrations are far better than any colour drawing. Now the entire book along with the illustrations will be by John, and that's perfect.
    By the way, stop worrying what others will all be okay.

  11. I like the idea of black and white illustrations and the two you have here are very good. I think you worry far too much

  12. I like line drawings a lot. The one of the welfare worker is perfect. The great formless lump of the government dragging away the sad little human.