Geoff, Bear, and I are heading back to Paris. We will be photographing a newlywed session for a couple that is getting married in Scotland the week before and we are so excited! It’s the height of the summer wedding season, but we decided to take a couple weeks to spend some time in our favorite city visiting good friends, eating baguettes, and working…on our Paris ABC and color books!
It has been quite the journey creating these books. I can’t believe it has been over a year since we photographed them. What a year it has been too, especially for me creatively. It has been a year where I was looking at myself with new eyes and questioned everything that I am as an artist. It has also (and maybe because of the aforementioned questioning) a year where I have tried many new things and my personal artistic style and capacity has grown more in the past year than any other. In fact, I don’t know if I ever really though of myself as an “artist” until now. These books have encompassed that journey. Some days I feel sad that they have taken much longer than I anticipated to get to the point where they are today, but I know that they wouldn’t be the books they are without the time that has passed.
When Geoff and I started photographing the books in Paris, the design was coming together very quickly. I was designing pages as fast as we were photographing them. By the time our five weeks in France were up and we were heading home, they were a good 85% done! I was so excited about the way the design was coming along and continued working on them in the following weeks after we got home (all while taking care of a four month old and shooting weddings, in other words, very slowly). Once all the pages were designed, my next step was to design the book covers. That is where I got seriously stuck. I had some ideas, shifted things around in Indesign, but mostly stared at my computer screen for hours. I wanted something that was fun and current, that appealed to both kids and adults, and could easily translate to a series of books based on other cities around the world. Nothing I was coming up with was right. To me the covers were (and are still) a big deal. I know the old cliche is to never judge a book by its cover, but let’s face it, when it comes to actual books, we all do. So weeks passed, and then months. I’d occasionally open up the cover designs but ultimately just get frustrated again and put it off. I know that being in the midst of my first year of motherhood was not helping my creativity any too. But that is a whole ‘nother post for another day.
2014 ended and 2015 began. And suddenly I had a deadline to finish the books. Photo Field Trip was coming up and we wanted to print copies to take with us to get feedback from other photographers and artists. I am finding more and more that I work best when faced with a deadline. I guess it is the procrastinator in me. And finally, I was able come up with a cover design for the books that I really liked. With that we ordered a copy of each book. We got some really great feedback from others as we showed it around. I made some adjustments but again, I found that I was getting stuck. I still needed to write an intro page about our story and what the books were all about. I also had to design a back cover too. I didn’t know where to begin. As time went by, I grew unsatisfied with the covers. They just weren’t right. Not eye catching enough. I didn’t know how well they would adapt to books about other cities, while still remaining cohesive. So it was back to the drawing board.
As I mentioned, I’ve been trying a lot of new things. I was experimenting a bunch with hand lettering and something that I have always wanted to do, illustration. I started working on illustrating one of my favorite photos from the book. A picture of the Eiffel Tower and my hand holding up an ice cream cone. There is actually a pretty great story behind that photo, but I’ll tell that another day. I took those first two illusteaions and paired them with some bright solid color and my bold hand lettering, and suddenly I saw something I loved. One of my favorite things about being creative is that moment when you are so excited about something you are creating that you don’t want to do anything hing else but that. You don’t care about eating or even sleeping. That’s how I was feeling about this new direction. So I spent every spare minute making colorful illustration of the different things in the books. I can see how they might easily be applied to different cities by crating new illustrations and colors. I also finally finished writing the intro and I designed the back covers. I ordered new prototype copies and they just arrived yesterday. I love they way they turned out. Here is just a little sneak peek!
The next stop for these books is Paris! While we are there will will be photographing them and taking video for either a book trailer/promotion or a Kickstarter campaign, depending on which route we take. I’m researching publishers now, but getting into that world seems so overwhelming! I’d love any tips if any of my readers have advice to share!