Saturday, 18 October 2008

The Proofs Are Here!


Today was very exciting, as the postman delivered the proofs of one of my new books for next year: Stinky! (starring a cute, but very whiffy, baby warthog).

For those who don't know, before a book is printed, everyone involved gets a set of 'proofs'. This is a complete print of the whole book, at the final size, not yet bound into a book, but as individual flat double-pages. This is used to make sure that everything is perfect, before it goes to final print. Once thousands of copies are created, it is too late to put mistakes right, so the proofs are very important.

My main task is to check my illustrations, to make sure the colours are true, and these proofs are very good indeed. Paula, my Art Director, thinks we need to brighten up the cover a bit, so I have to play around with that on the computer, but the inside picture look perfect.


I also check that all the 'text overlays' are in place. This is where words appear within the image, over and above the main story text. See above, where Stinky and his friend Baby Littlebird are playing Jungle Monopoly? Notice that the name of the game has been left out of my original drawing. This is because no text can ever appear on my illustrations, otherwise foreign translations would be impossible without redoing the drawing. So I do any wording separately (on the computer) and put in place just before printing (see Computers are Wonderful Again). This is how the game will look in the book:


Sometimes they get left off by mistake. If you have a hardback copy of Bad Hare Day, turn to the final spread. This is how it is supposed to look! Can you spot the difference?


The coffee machine text was missed off, but I didn't spot the mistake on the proofs, so all the books were printed that way. If you have a paperback, it may be ok, as they are printed later on, so they probably corrected the error - I haven't got a copy here to check. If you have one, let me know if it's ok!


This is one of my favourite bits from Stinky!: the baby monkeys' tea party. Everything is going well, until Stinky's pong attracts lots of flies. Unfortunately, the flies tickle the monkeys and create havoc:


I decided to tip the image as well as the table, to increase the sense of chaos: the horizontal skirting board was far too calm. This also created more space for the ceiling to appear, as the words specify the jelly gets stuck to the ceiling.

8 comments:

granny grimble said...

Do you know I've looked at that last spread so many times (I even based the fun club quizz on it) and never noticed the blank coffee machine! Until reading your blogs I bet everyone thought that illustrating a book meant sitting down and painting jolly pictures, and then that was that! It is such complicated and intensive work. Did you know exactly how much was involced when you did your first book 'Rickety Barn'?

Lynne Chapman said...

I didn't notice it myself immediately. There's a mistake in Mr Strongmouse and the Baby that I didn't notice for a year: check out the Gently-Does-It-School teacher...

I learned as I went along what was involved. I already knew some aspects of the process from working with editorial publications, but of course there's lots of other stuff now as well.

granny grimble said...

Do you mean the teacher in the 'Softly-does-It school'.
I've looked and looked and can't see anything wrong with her.

Lynne Chapman said...

Look more closely - clue: what colour mouse is she?

granny grimble said...

She's white and her hands are coloured. I realised that, but the other mice who are brown have white hands!

Lynne Chapman said...

All the mice have white hands and feet, but hers have no colour or shading on at all - they are still the pink colour of the pink paper I work on, and the lines are just my pencil guideline.

I missed them out completely, but didn't notice until I was in the middle of a storytelling about a year later!

Tomás Serrano said...

It´s terrific!!! The party is wonderful and your characters playing Monopoly... How many time took you? With so many details...

Lynne Chapman said...

Thank you Tomas!

Detailed spreads like that take about 1 day to plan and then a further 2 days to colour. If they are really intricate they can go on for 3 days, but I hate that and get very twitchy with it if it lasts for then 2!