Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Clockmaker's Illustration

Dear Ellie,

Creative pursuits have always come easily to me.  Writing, acting, musicianship... sadly though, I've always been an exceedingly mediocre artist.  For this reason, I've always envied artists.  I wish I could write you stories and then illustrate them myself, but given that my artistic skill hasn't improved since my days in Kindergarten (I gave up when my very earnest attempts to color between the lines met with continual failure) I've settled on the next best thing.

Over the past two months, I've had the pleasure of seeing your stories come to life, though not by my own hand.  As I mentioned previously, I looked very carefully for an illustrator who's style I thought captured your stories best, and Tze immediately felt like a natural fit.  He was very accommodating and over the course of around 100 e-mail exchanges we discussed which scenes should be illustrated and how.  The process was quite a bit more involved than I thought, but quite enjoyable.  Tze insisted on doing the best that he could.  He wanted the illustrations to match what I'd imagined, and I'm so incredibly happy with the final results.  Each illustration involved numerous iterations, with some illustrations involving as many as a dozen different sketches and rough drafts.  Some stories took quite some time to get right, so much so that I felt bad about requesting changes.  The Girl in the Sphere was surprisingly troublesome, but with other stories, like Ludwig von Whiskers Paws, I could think of very few ways to improve them.         

Of all your stories, I was looking forward to seeing the final product of The Clockmaker's Daughter most.  I've read the story so many times to you that I can recite it by heart.  From the first sketch to the final illustration, Tze always seemed to render the scene better than my own imagination could.  I can't wait to frame it and put it up on the wall next to your crib:

The Clockmaker works tirelessly through the night...

I plan on commissioning an illustration for each of your stories, though I probably shouldn't be too prolific with my writing.  I might write myself straight into the poor house!  

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