Those of you who have been reading the Zenspirations blog for a while may remember that in October I launched my first-ever Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to self-publish,When You Lose Someone You Love, an illustrated book of excerpts from the grief journals I kept after my husband died unexpectedly three and a half years ago. The pages of the book I’m about to self-publish all started in one of my grief journals… expressing my feelings by putting pen to paper was both cathartic and healing… and something I continue to do. The photo below shows some of the journals I kept. I wrote all the text with my favorite tool– a Pigma Micron 01– in a series of Moleskin Reporter’s notebooks.
I’ve started to get inquiries about when the book will be available, and as I’m nearing the end of the redesign process, I wanted to share a progress report. Much to my regret, it has taken me significantly longer than I had originally anticipated to make these changes, which has delayed my being able to send the book off to press. One reason it has taken longer than I thought it would, is that in addition to adding color I have also been tweaking most of the pages… sometimes I’ve made changes to the layout, sometimes I’ve cleaned up (or totally redone) the lettering; occassionally I’ve combined the text from multiple pages onto a single spread.On several pages that were originally text-only I added an illustration to enhance the design.
I’d like to share how the pages of my grief journals have evolved into the pages of When You Lose Someone You Love. For example, in the photo below you’ll see the original unretouched drawing in my grief journal on the bottom, and a comp of the final design on top.
As another example, below is a photo of the unretouched lettering from my journal.
And here is the final design with digitally cleaned up lettering… although it looks simple, it took several hours to adjust the letters on this spread.
The next page of the book, which I consider pivotal, provides a good example of how I tweaked the lettering and added an illustration to enhance the design. It’s after this page that the book starts to get a little more hopeful. The top piece is a photo of my original, unretouched journal, followed by the final version of that page.
I’d also like to share the evolution of one of the spreads at the back of the book where I added color. I have names for most of the spreads, and I call this one “Life’s Journey”. The image below is a photo of my unretouched journal.
As you can see, the illustration is kind of messy, so I scanned my journal, and then cleaned up the line art digitally to get the design below. I made a deliberate decision not to include the leaves on most of the trees, in order to underscore the bleak mood I was trying to convey.
When I set the stretch goal to add color, I was thinking about this spread in particular, because I wanted to visually show the themes of transition and hope, and I thought color would be a good way to do achieve that. I knew I wanted to incorporate a washy edge into the illustration, and tried at least a dozen different techniques before coming up with something I thought had possibilities.
But in the end, I decided that I should depict the world as being grey before the transition, and then add soft color which would gradually become more vibrant to help underscore the transition in my life’s journey.
I left the star out of this version, but am wondering whether it would be a stronger spread with the star. I would greatly value your feedback on this, and would appreciate your leaving me a comment to let me know if you’d like to see the star, or if you like the page the way it is. Feel free to share your thoughts on any other aspect of the book. I’m in the middle of doing the final production, but can still make changes before I send the book to press.
For those of you who backed my Kickstarter– THANK YOU!!! I truly appreciate your support (and your patience!) and am hoping the book will touch your heart. And for those of you who are new to the blog and didn’t get a chance to back the Kickstarter, the books will be for sale on my website (as soon as I redo it!).