Getting a childrens picture book published through the traditional route of a publisher has about as much chance of success as a three-legged donkey at the Grand National.
After looking at several childrens picture book in verse, I thought to myself…I could do that and maybe better. I set to and wrote a simple story in verse – here’s the synopsis:
The hero wakes town up every morning with his trumpet. Annoys the hell out of the townsfolk with the awful racket and gets himself sacked. Fire breathing dragon pays town a visit intending to burn it down. Hero defeats the dragon and gets his job back.
Simple enough and took a couple of days to complete the Verses. That was the easy bit. The next part was a little bit trickier. I had to make a decision. Should I farm out the artwork for the illustrations or (as I am a cartoonist) do them myself?
Farming out pros:
- I don’t have to do it
- I use the time to write I would have spent drawing
Farming out Cons’:
- I have to pay for the illustrations
- It’s somebody else’s work (not mine)
- I would probably always think I could have done it better (I am so modest!)
- I would hate myself forever
It was a bit of a no brainer so I decided to do the illustrations myself…mainly because my wallet told me to.
The first thing to do was to work out the number of pages. I am a lazy sod so I looked at the very best – The Gruffalo and used the same number of pages. Then I roughed it out and got the pen and paints out.
Next was to decide on a consistent style and medium. I settled for black ink outlining and watercolour pencil used part with water and part dry to enhance colour and shading.
Here is a time-lapse of a draft illustration for the following verse
There was only one way to keep it away
and Belvedere rushed up the tower
The weapon he chose was a long fire hose
To give that darned beast a good shower
I also had to do some smaller groups of illustrations. Here is one for the following verse
On his very first note, he stunned a wild goat
As the town awoke from its dreams
Dogs set a howling, grannies a scowling
And purple-faced babes full of screams
So far I am really please with the results and will constantly update this post as I progress – so keep coming back to see how I get on.