30 Mar My hopes and dreams are on a slow boat from China . . .
By Ailithir McGill – Nickel Plate Arts Director and April Showcase Artist
After two years of work, four all-nighters between Christmas and mid January, a lot of stress on my relationships, and two months of back & forth with the printer, my children’s book is finally a reality!
The only problem is that it is currently somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
My book The Owl and the Pussycat Went to Sea is coming to the U.S. from Global PSD, a full-service printer located in Hong Kong. The 1200 copies of my book were supposed to have been loaded onto a freighter on Mar 26th and are due to arrive sometime in April . . . There is no way for me to track the boat, so the most likely scenario is that sometime soon, I will get a phone call from a mysterious number telling me that a semi full of books is headed to my house.
I am on pins and needles as I wait.
I do, at least, know what the book is going to look and feel like. In working with Global PSD, they sent me proofs of each stage of the process. They sent me ozalids – a type of print made using a photographic process – to ensure that the films made from my art files were accurate. They also sent me digital proofs on paper similar to the stock of my book to make sure that the colors were precise. Then, they sent large folios with four images on each sheet to check that the pagination would be correct. They event sent me dummies (blank-page books) so that I could confirm that the binding techniques were of the quality and style that I wanted. The delivery of each one of these proofs was like Christmas: I strained to hear the squeal of the FedEx truck’s wheels outside my door each morning and if the truck didn’t arrive before it was time for me to go to work, I left notes for the delivery man, asking him to please leave these precious packages on my porch. I didn’t quite go as far as leaving milk & cookies, but I certainly thought about it . . .
One of the most challenging stages of the printing process was finalizing the design for the cover of the ‘limited edition.’ My fiancé, a highly successful self-published illustrator in his own right, convinced me that it would be prudent to have a special version of the book to sell to my closest supporters and collectors. We decided to create a cloth-bound version of the book that will include an original full-color drawing inside the cover. Creating an on-brand design for the foil stamp that would grace the front of this book proved trickier than I imagined: I made at least 12 different versions until finally landing on the design shown here.
All these bits & pieces were exciting and made me pretty confident that I knew what the finished version would look like. But then, I received the most exciting package of all: a big, heavy box appeared on my porch filled with 20 precious advanced copies of the finished book! My fiancé was there to record the momentous occasion. My hands shook as I carefully opened the box and the layers of packaging and I couldn’t hold back a child-like squeal as I caught a glimpse of the glossy cover.
My heart raced and tears welled up in my eyes. This was it! All the time, all the stress, all the worry . . . the moment my hand touched that book, I knew it was all worth it. I held in my hand the physical manifestation of a dream I had had since I was toddler watching Reading Rainbow. And it turns out that the real book is better than anything I had imagined. It’s gorgeous and I am so happy to be able to share it with the Nickel Plate Arts community.
Now all I have to do is wait for the rest of the books to get here so that the REAL fun can begin: sharing this book with all of the kids (and kids-at-heart) that I know!
I sincerely hope that you’ll help me celebrate this moment by dropping by Nickel Plate Arts sometime this April. You can see my exhibit during our regular gallery hours, as well as during these special events:
- First Friday, April 6th, 6-9 p.m.: Enjoy the music of Gavin Cooley and try some fun art activities with me!
- Fairy Friday, April 20th, 6-9 p.m.: In addition to all of the Fairy Fun, you can also meet a collection of authors & illustrators. I’ll be here running fun activities, Sarah E. Morin will be here with her new book Rapunzel the Hairbrained and comic book author and illustrator Stuart Sayger will be here with some of his latest pieces!
- Book Launch Party, April 28th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: With any luck, the shipment of books will have arrived and we can celebrate with a ceremonial ‘unboxing.’ All of my Kickstarter supporters will be invited to pick up their rewards, and everyone else is invited to relax, have some tea & cookies, shop for art & books and enjoy this amazing arts community.
My exhibit will include original artwork from the book, plus prints, cards, stickers, coloring sheets and the book itself, plus some NEW illustrations that could evolve into my next big project: I need you to vote on what I should do next!
PLUS, I am pleased to share this month’s showcase with emerging artist Linda Cordial, who will have 5 amazing pieces of her own on display (more about Linda’s art to come shortly!).