Process: from manuscript to illustrated book

process_image
From manuscript to finished book: a brief process overview

This is a post about a project I’ve been participating in for a few months. It’s a noir-style children’s book in which nursery rhymes meet police procedural. A friend and client of mine, R. Andrew Heidel (owner of famous The Way Station bar), wrote True Crimes from Rhymes Square years ago and finally found an illustrator who was right for the job— Eric Hamilton. They hired me on as the publication designer.

Copy fitting process with thumbnail drawings
A sample spread during the copy-fitting process with thumbnail drawings

Eric spent months working on loads of thumbnails and sketches to work out the characters (of which there are many), as well as working out the illustrations. He provided me with no less than four thumbnails for each page/spread. I worked with the copy and layout design to arrive at a good balance of text-to-image, and Andy and I art directed during this process.

The same spread, after months of editing copy, Eric refining the illustrations, and me refining the design of the book

The book is being produced with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, and will be a sort of work-in-progress limited-edition hardcover, comprised of rough drawings, polished pencil illustrations, and final painted illustrations. It will serve as proof-of concept when Andy approaches publishers to create a series based on this initial story.

More images after the jump!

Sample spread showing several levels of 'finish' on the illustrations
Sample spread showing several levels of ‘finish’ on the illustrations
One of the spreads in finished pencil form for this work-in-progress edition
One of the spreads in finished pencil form for this work-in-progress edition
A few other cover designs before arriving at the final design
A few other cover designs before arriving at the final design
spidermuffet
Spider, who has a creepy crush on Miss Muffet…

The Kickstarter campaign has reached— and exceeded— its minimum goal, but we are still eager to achieve the full amount to both produce the book and pay us for all of the hours that we’ve put into this project. In addition to the KS campaign, there is a Booster sale of tee shirts featuring one of the most fascinating characters, Spider.tee-shirtsprojectswelove
We received a jolly email just a few days ago telling us we were a featured Kickstarter project, but there are only FOUR days left— the KS express on October 15. Go have a look, and support out book project to get your own limited edition, signed copy of this in-progress  book.

There are loads more process images in the “Updates” tab from the illustrator, so you’ll get more sneak peeks at the character design and development.

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