October 20, 2014 Groundwood Books

Behind the scenes of a picture book translation

When we came across the beautiful picture book À La Sieste! (Naptime!) by Iris de Moüy, we knew we had to bring it to an English audience. But there are lots of things that go into making a picture book that the average reader might not think about. In the case of Naptime!, all the text in the book was hand-lettered to match the illustrations. We knew that to make the English translation as beautiful as the French version, we had to hand-letter our text too.

Groundwood Art Director Michael Solomon was up to the task. He let us document the process, and gave us some insight into his thoughts. Have a look!


 

About to attempt the English lettering for our edition of Iris de Moüy's Naptime. The text will print as a greyscale layer in the final production and I wanted to match the dark and light tones of the original as much as possible (it's not a solid black). I assumed I would need to use a transparent coloured ink or watercolour, but I couldn't find any that were dark enough or that pooled the pigment in the right way. Finally I settled on this Windsor and Newton India: less black than Pelikan but strong enough in the heavy strokes and then yielding a nice grey when the brush runs dry or the pressure is less. Perfection! (The ink, not me).

I’m about to attempt the English lettering for our edition of Iris de Moüy’s Naptime!. The text will print as a greyscale layer in the final production, and I wanted to match the dark and light tones of the original as much as possible (it’s not a solid black). I assumed I would need to use a transparent coloured ink or watercolour, but I couldn’t find any that were dark enough or that pooled the pigment in the right way. Finally I settled on this Windsor and Newton India: less black than Pelikan but strong enough in the heavy strokes and then yielding a nice grey when the brush runs dry or the pressure is less. Perfection! (The ink, not me).

The original. Ours will be a conventional jacketed trade picture book, not a board book. But it will print in these 4 yummy spot inks.

The original. Ours will be a conventional jacketed picture book, not a board book. But it will print in these four yummy spot inks.

I am going to need complete silence.

I am going to need complete silence.

DSC_0004

The weapon of choice.

Silence, I say! Mmmm... Smooth white card stock...

Silence, I say! Mmmm… smooth white card stock…

Oh, yeah!

Oh, yeah!

I'm lying. I want to have a nap. Right now.

I’m lying. I want to have a nap. Right now.

Excess feathering and other irregularities: Photoshop will see to that!

Excess feathering and other irregularities: Photoshop will see to that!

Destination: page 5

Destination: page 5

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 11.48.14 AM

And the final result!

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