October 8, 2013

Cats of Prologues and Epilogues

Conversations with knowledgeable people can always improve upon one’s creative output. Last year, I had completed a small book of fun poems and illustrations of imaginary and extraordinary cats. It started out as a project to fill in one of my sister’s handmade books that she had given to me as a birthday present. She later compiled the illustrations along with my poems into a small hard bound book. I was on the cusp of attempting to publish this and had even sent out one on-line query when I began chatting on line with an old friend who happened to be an avid collector of cat books. So I began sending her a poem and a cat picture daily so that she could bind them herself into a volume for her collection. In the course of our conversations, I found from my research on her suggested publishers that publishing would be no easy feat, even for an attractive book that could have broad appeal. But I also discovered through my friend, ways of expanding and editing the book to make it better. For one thing, in addition to the cats that were illustrating the small book, I sent to my friend other sketches of cats that I had made from life. She chose one of a sleeping cat and modestly suggested that it required a poem too. I was confused at first because the sleeping cat was a drawing of a real cat and the illustrations were imaginary ones to go with the nonsense poetry. Then I came up with the idea of using this study of the sleeping cat as a prologue to the book, making the sleeper also the dreamer of the fantastic cats.

As our conversations continued I started coming up with more poems for cats not yet illustrated; Shaman Cat, Culinary Cat, Designer Cat, and Magic Cat, to name a few. While my ideas for illustrations for these cats were cooking in my head I came across another sketch that I had done of the same sleeping cat that I was now using as a prologue. Only this sketch was of the cat waking up and rolling around. So I carefully recreated the same detailed background in this drawing and waking kitty became the epilogue to the book, with his own poem.

I’ve made much more work for myself, but I do believe when it is finished it will be a better book to approach a publisher with.

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