As I said in my post on Monday, my picture book is finally coming out next May. But at the moment, it’s in the hands of copyediting, or under the gaze of. Copyediting has made great catches in the text but also in the pictures. I thought I’d been really careful, but … well … that’s why there are copyeditors.
For this post, I want to show you what was found in an overhead street scene. Here’s the scene.
The copyeditors realized that I mark the sidewalk segments in my other illustrations, so I should do it here, too. (I had to add segments on a couple of other pages as well.) It does look better, doesn’t it?:
No. My editor realized that the man isn’t wearing his red sock in this picture. Man? Sock? “Where’s Waldo”-fashion look for the leg and foot just entering the park above right. Can you see that the ankle has no red sock covering it? Well, this man wears red socks in every other picture he’s in, so…
But wait, the girl doesn’t have her purse, either. (I knew that but decided no one would notice, and that adding the purse might clog up the tiny picture of her, but…)
So, whew! I send in the illustration, now with segments, a red sock, and the purse.
But then my editor, who’s in copyediting mode herself says, “What about a playground?”
“A playground?” I think.
It turns out she’s referring to a line in my text that suggests we could, might, really should see a playground in this overhead scene.
She and I have been working on this book, literally, for years, and neither of us has considered including the playground.
I say, “I might be able to fit one in.”
I think, “There’s really no room.”
I say, “I’m not sure there’s room, and we wouldn’t want to show children playing on the playground, would we? That would add a new narrative to the illustration. But an empty playground? That’s not so good, either, is it?
I send sketches, then decide upon this approach, which I’ve decided is marvelously subtle. I’m very pleased with myself.
My art director and editor aren’t so sure. Okay, I’ll go whole hog. I tell them I’ll have to bring in the demolition crew to do it, by which I mean knock down some buildings. This can actually be hard in the virtual world. My illustration at this point, and indeed for most of its life, is a Photoshop file. In Photoshop lingo it’s tall and thin, meaning it’s dimensions are small, but it has a lot of layers. Maybe 100? I’m guessing but also not kidding.
So I knock down a couple of buildings and construct a playground in their place. I also make cosmetic fixes I won’t dwell on here, like giving the corner tree a trunk. Now that the building in front of it is gone, all we see is a free-floating ball of leaves. Well, not anymore. I fixed it.
Here’s the illustration, finished, with sidewalk segments, a red sock for the man, a purse for the girl, and a full-fledged playground. The children are playing underneath the play structure – I just know they are:
I like it. The copyeditors were right (as was my editor, as usual).