Not Quite Done Yet!

Dear Liza,

Every time I think I’m nearly done with your story, I trip over the next step.

It took about five months to get the story itself written. Research on Denmark and its geography took a while, then making up how to get around and what should happen next, as well as how to create coded clues, kept me very busy and were lots of fun!

Once the adventure was written, I realized that it needed some illustrations. So there were a couple of months of noodling around with colored pencils, paints and collage. I looked at my favorite illustrators for inspiration. I studied Eric Carle, Margaret Wise Brown, and Dr. Seuss. I ended up with a combination of Henri Matisse and a clever third grader.

Since this is going to be a hand-made, hardcover book, I needed to come up with a design for the cover. It had to be like the inside illustrations but different enough to not give the story away.

Printing the pages took longer than I expected, as well.

Wrestling with Microsoft Word running on an Apple Mac was a test in checking every box and knowing when to walk away rather than smacking the equipment. I lost count of how many pages got printed too small, sideways, or just totally wrong. Let’s just say I have plenty of scratch paper for my next project. But it eventually worked out.

What’s next? Printing the illustrations, punching holes, and lacing the whole darn thing together!!


Grandma Judy

Illustration Progress

Dear Liza,

I am still working in the illustrations for your story, Adventure Grandma, and have changed gears a bit. Instead of drawing the pictures of our imaginary adventures in Denmark, I am playing with collage and acrylic paints.

As I go along, I am discovering all sorts of new possibilities and difficulties. Finding the right colors and patterns is tricky. I found some in my collage box and am creating others. You never know what will work. All the circles for my moons, suns and bicycle wheels came off Kleenex boxes.

I need to make sure that all the illustrations are cohesive, as Tim Gunn says, so they look like they are going to the same party. I am doing this by using some of the same colors on each page. Red and yellow from our Portland Art Museum magazine are featured in flames, bicycles, sails, and the Peacock Theater.

Then there are the actual shapes and sizes of all the bits. Trying to make sure that the unfortunate cyclists are believable lead to a sort of accidental circus.

The process of collage involves making a thousand decisions. You get an idea of what your picture should look like, then hunt for paper that will get closest to that. There is a lot of reconsidering and rejecting along the way.

I am having such fun with this project! My only worry is getting it all done before we visit you in the spring, so I will go work on it now.


Grandma Judy