April 26, 2015

My Women My Monsters Revisited

For the past several weeks I have been sending out query letters to literary agencies and publishers about my illustrated manuscript of The Book of Marvelous Cats. What I have found thus far is that the manuscript makes the grade for self publishing. I would not imagine that editorial committees in that business set the bar very high but it is still nice to know that I could go that route if the traditional publishing venue does not pan out.

I did receive my first rejection letter from a traditional literary agency but did not take that very personally, especially with my long history of working in the competitive art world. Like everything in competition, it is a process.

What has helped considerably in the process of sending my work out for review was getting the illustrations and text professionally formatted, then condensed into a PDF file for making easy attachments to e-mail query letters. For regular mail, this can be conveniently printed out as well.

The illustrated cat book, neatly formatted and zipped up for the world of literary review, it was time to turn my attention to formatting a previously completed illustrated manuscript, My Women My Monsters. This turned out not to be as easy to format, as the poetry was quite varied in length. For the shorter poems, there was an easy layout with a poem on one page and an illustration on the opposite page. We ran in to problems, however, with the longer poems. These ran in to second and occasionally third pages, which meant a blank page on the opposite side. What to do?

My graphic designer decided to extract a detail from the illustration and enlarge it slightly for the page opposite the continuation of the poem. I liked the solution but then was bothered by the lost resolution upon enlargement of the cut away detail. Then I had an idea. ( My ideas for improvements in my art work also end up being extra work, but generally the end result is worth the extra effort). I decided to draw the enlarged details over again in a 5" x 7" format, making the details crisper. After I began this process it also occurred to me that I could have some fun altering the details slightly to add in something different from the original drawing. One example of this was the detail cut away for the poem Lady Joy Killer. The detail featured the woman’s hand on an AK-47. In reproducing this detail I changed the fingernails to sharpen them and altered the background into a quilt-like pattern.

The complete image is reproduced above, the detail above right, and the final revised detail at left. A peak in to a revision process that will proceed off and on for the next month or two.

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