Opening the Next Door
Once we finished editing the words, next came the pictures. Easy enough, I thought, since everything had already been illustrated, it would just be a matter of "tweaking" the visuals. So I handed all the high resolution artwork that I had over to the art director and sat back to wait for direction. The hardest part of all of this is that technology moves at such high rates of speed and the artwork that was "cutting edge" 15 years earlier when it was created was now sadly the dullest edge imaginable. I did my best to change and upgrade what could be upgraded and the art director and designer certainly did their best to adapt the art to make it work. There were only about 3 or 4 spreads that needed a complete recreation of art as they were not able to be salvaged. The first glance at the first proof was challenging but as we got further along in the process things fell together quite well. The designer used a special technique of "grunging" up the pages and images to make them look more interesting and ultimately more "steampunk-y". It was several weeks of back and forth and "hurry-up wait", but we came to a a really nice final conclusion and I learned A LOT in the process.
It got real when we sat down to choose the best cover design and also the color of the cloth used on the hard cover of the book along with the gold foil stamping which really gives it that "art book quality". When we embarked on this endeavor, I had no idea that the full creation of a picture book takes 9 months from start to finish. Some of that time was condensed in my case since I had many of the visuals already created. So at this point we are only 5 months into the process although much of the hands on work has already been accomplished on our end. We are nearly ready to send the art off to the printer and then sit and wait 3-4 months to see the finished product. We opted out of a full press proof due to expense and shipping, but it was well worth the wait to hold the final book in hand.