Surprise Monday : Week 5 : Title page

Well I'm done with pretty much all the internals, and now get to do other fun things like the title page and cover. Karen and I are still discussing the cover a bit, so here are a few ideas for the title page.

I think whereas the cover has to be striking/interesting to make you pick up the book in the first place, the title page is a nice place to introduce the characters. For this book, that is a bit tricky because there are 4 main characters, and they don't actually meet in the book - they are all separate stories. so how could I link them together?

first i tried something like this, but it was a bit too boring.

then something like this but it was a bit too brady bunch:

There is a real giving aspect to this book, and I wanted to reflect that. But again because the characters don't actually meet each other in the book, I didn't want them meeting on the title page! So I came up with this...

which hopefully imparts the feeling that they are somehow connected, yet without ever actually meeting.
Last week, Isabelle asked me "I was wondering if you could talk about how you decide which "moments" to illustrate, if you talk this out with the author or if you make this call. How much of the finished layout of the book do you worry about at this point?"

These are great questions which I've been thinking about a lot. In my experience, it has always been left up to me to decide what to illustrate (and I like it that way!) although sometimes the author/editor will have ideas that they pass along but it is up to me whether I use them or not.

As for how I decide on what moments... that is a tough one. I suppose I tend to think more about what feeling i want to portray and then decide on a composition that relates that feeling, but also works with the text on the page, of course.

For instance, here is a spread that is a bit sad - Meg's dog had to go to the vet, so she is being consoled by her grandma. Regardless of what the text says exactly, the feeling I wanted was of something intimate and sweet. So I drew Meg sitting on her grandma's lap with a favourite toy, and we are quite close up to them in the frame to get that feeling of something private. And of course Meg's expression is a bit sad. I guess as long as you get the feeling right, the illustration will work with the text.

In terms of the finished layout of the book, I am always thinking about that as I am illustrating. I guess you tend to design the book as you go along, because you have to think about text placement and leaving space for it in the illustration. I am lucky that I also do graphic design so have the software to put a whole book together, and then can easily play around with the text and size/placement of illustrations. I asked the author what font and what size she would like to use early on so that I could work with that.

Sometimes you will find that you haven't left enough room and will need to adjust the illo accordingly. As you can see with the spread above, I left room on the left side of the right hand page. When I layed it out with the text, I found I had left more than enough room (for once!) which means I can add other little details in the final illo if I want. With this book there is also a designer involved so I have done a mockup of what I think works, but will consult with her before I start any final illustrations.

Hope that all makes sense and hope it was of some use! Thanks again for stopping by!