new book beginnings ~ db

Dream Boats - ozalid proofs

Ozalid proofs

Caggages and Ozalids

I have to admit, there is something pretty terrifying about print. Make a mistake, and it’s permanent. You can look something over, and over, and over on screen, or on crummy black and white print-outs, and still you’ll find more mistakes in the colour proofs.

When I was 4, I was delighted to find a spelling mistake in one of my picture books had been carefully pasted over with a correction printed on a small rectangle of paper. Of course I had to unstick one side to see what was underneath (caggage). This little mistake gave me a sudden glimpse into the mysterious process of how books come to be – it was proof of human hands, human process. It was a huge realisation to me and I loved it. I wanted to know more about the poor soul who had to carefully cut and paste those little rectangles correctly spelling the word ‘cabbage’. Sadly, the rest of the glue holding that little piece of paper perished over time and the correction has slipped out of the book and become lost.

When I’m nearing the end of the illustration process, I’m usually pretty exhausted and this book was an extreme. So some things get left at good enough in order to meet a deadline, even though they nag at the back of my mind. When they’re suddenly there in front of me in proof form, after a few months break from the work, they jump right out at me and I know they need to be fixed. Fortunately, there were a few text edits at this point, so it meant I could also do those tiny illustration tweaks at the same time. I might be the only one to notice, but it has stopped bothering me.

Dream Boats - ozalid proofs


Dream Boats - ozalid proofs and book mockup

Ozalid proofs + the book dummy


Dream Boats - proof notes

Ozalid proofs + my illustration notes-to-self  (some things just aren’t that noticeable on screen and it takes a printout to show where there might be a dark fleck, or star, in the illustration that falls under a bit of text, creating confusion etc).

Dream Boats - ozalid proof notes to printer

Ozalid proofs with my colour notes for the printer, for which they will probably grumble at me (I’m sure my comments would be fantastic fodder for a similar poster series. The irony is not lost on me.)




DB_Origami_boat_black_outlines_sm_varThis post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a slideshow of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.


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