A book without a title

A story told a while ago, finds its way back in the author's hands

Once upon a time, a tale was written by a boy. He's no longer a boy and he was soon to be married. When it comes to the tale, it was left behind, burried in a box of notebooks and high school memories.

So, for a wedding gift, my boyfriend and I, decided to publish a book to inspire the young family to be brave and never let dreams slip off their hands.

We had 15 days to transcript the text, edit it, draw illustrations and figure out how to design, pre-press and print the book. 


What happened

It was definitely not what the normal book publishing looks like, but it still felt awesome to recreate that process on a very small scale. Here is a brief overview of our "to do list".

1. Copy the text from the original

We had the story printed on 20, A4 pages, given as a gift a long time ago. We needed to "digitize" it in order to make things happen.


2. Find a helping hand

After talking to a few freelancers for design and pre-press and after calling to some of the big print houses, we almost gave up the idea that it can happen on time. Nobody could promise to fit in the short deadline and budget.

Fortunately, digging the internet, we found a small printing house that's focused on independent authors and offers all in one solution for book publishing. They promised to take care of formatting, correcting the text and printing the book. And the best part was that they could fit in our timelines. We only needed to provide the illustrations and the text.

3. Read the story and extract key moments that can be illustrated

Usually, you won't find me reading stories about dark lords and hard rock music bands but I definitely enjoyed that one. The way it was written, the wording and the jokes were almost as inspiring as the weird creatures and unusual meals.


4. Sketch thumbnails

Turned out I've marked too many moments in the story so I had to sketch quick thumbnails and then filtered which ones to keep and turn into illustrations.

5. Choose the art direction and draw the illustrations

As the clock was ticking there wasn't much time for experimenting. I needed to find a simple, hand-drawn style for the illustrations that represent the mood and captures the moments without having to add too many details.

I've decided to settle with the classic pastels and black and red color combo, to match the darkness of the book. 

Here is what came out of it.


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© Joy Pepper 2023