O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
An appropriate line because Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” was a part influence on Greta von Gerbil & Her Really Large Lexicon. I’m chortling in my joy because I’ve just received five advance copies of Greta, and I’m pleased to see they’ve turned out beautifully.
Our first book, Hogart The Hedgehog Turns Nink, wasn’t too shabby either. My first stipulation was always that I wanted hardcover, in the shape and size of a classic large format Dr. Seuss book, which is about A4. It turned out that a hardcover really didn’t add much to the price. So the fancy prices on all those deluxe hardcover editions you see on the shelves of your local children’s bookshops signal only an aesthetic increase in value. It would seem big name publishers add a premium for the luxury of a hardcover at little extra cost on the printing end. Certainly when you ship hardcover the cost increases because there’s more weight but not that much more weight.
I did have a couple of niggles with the aesthetics of Hogart. One result of the story being set at night meant that the full colour pictures were often dark, and so I was advised to print on a glossy paper. But when the books arrived, they gave off a chemical smell that took weeks to dissipate. It did look great, but I slowly went off the plasticky high-gloss look and feel of that paper. Who doesn’t prefer a nice crisp leafy papery paper?
With Greta von Gerbil we changed it up. Firstly, Chris hand-painted all the characters, and you can see the detail in this photo of Greta’s eye over to the left. Matte art paper shows up that detail much more nicely. Secondly, the colours were relatively light and suited matte paper. And thirdly, Chris hand-wrote all the text. When people see the font, they refuse to believe it’s been done by hand. But when you look closely you can see that no two characters are alike. Chris hand-wrote the text by closely copying a font called Plantagenet Cherokee, hence the realistic font-like look of the text. He even went as far as to handwrite the numbers on the barcode, all of the acknowledgements, and the Facebook logo on the back. It’s truly a work of art!