A Heart Warming Tale Of Vampires. Lemonade. Wiggly Words & Wobbly Drawings.
Once upon a day at work a conversation with Den Patrick went something thus….
I can illustrate your book.
You’ve never illustrated anything like it?
And you don’t have the slightest clue what it is or how it works?
Okay, good enough for me!
And so I acquired partial ownership of a fat vampire that steals lemonade. Cool. Given the large degree of trust just involved there I thought I’d better try and do something pretty damned spandy with the crayons.
Visualizing stuff from other people’s heads? Weird. People tend to have no preconceived idea of how their ideas should look until you’ve actually draw something. At this point they then inform you that it should be blue. The red you’ve chosen is entirely wrong. You are a spaz. So it’s always a bit nerve wracking drawing somebody else’s creation. But Den is patience personified to work with. And easily distracted by Iron Man if all else fails.
This is what the little guy originally started off looking like. I love the early 1960s work of Friz ‘Pink Panther’ Freleng. Which this borrows an awful lot from. It didn’t quiet work though. Too many folk with a copy of Illustrator can churn this stuff out. And I wanted something that looked as idiosyncratic as Mr Patrick’s fiendishly wonderful words.
Okaaaaaay. Back to pen and paper basics then. What would a vampire thingee that steals lemonade look like? Turns out, in my head, a kinda big, fat, sinister bat. A little Bauhaus. A little post Rudy Rucker visualization of time and dimensions. A little Yuko ‘Hello Kitty’ Shimizu and I’m good with the design. Thankfully Den was too. Major relief. No illustators were slapped during the making of this book.
So numerous cups of tea, much Moderat and many hours of marker pen fumes later and we have a book. Hard when you’re working full-time but, yeah, life sucks. Well, what do you do with it then? Seemingly spend hours of your life, that you’ll never get back, having publishers and agents tell you “they just love the book but not in the current climate/ it’s wonderful – maybe later in the year/ lovely concept but can we put you on a ‘possibles’ list?”. So never being somebody to let having no idea what I’m doing stop me I think the words ‘ebook’.
I then find out if you start saying the words ‘full colour picture book’ and ‘digital publishing’ in the same sentence to people they start muttering things like ‘difficult’ at you. Unlike a text based novel, picture books are a tricky beasty and require something called ‘fixed format publishing’. Well, unless you’re happy with the book looking like some vague aproxcimation of your original designs. I can’t even find anybody in the UK who’ll work with me on this so Mr Fizzy Pop Vampire goes to the US of A. A deal is struck with Publish Green. I’ll burn the photoshop midnight oil redesigning the entire book for the iPad/Phone. Publish Green will get it working as an ebook for Apple. Den will be superbly patient. Again.
Weeks pass but then an actual ebook arrives. Look at that! Exciting! I’m entranced that I can turn the pages on the iPad. Well, I’m easily pleased. But it’s pretty neat to see three coffee stained pages of Den’s copy, that were stuck to the front of my Mac for nearly a year, now appear as a shiny little digital publication.
One of the very few things that stuck in my head from art college was reading that Paul Klee said “Drawing is taking a line for a walk”. I love that. It always comes to mind when I’m wondering how to illustrate something. And hopefully, with Mr Fizz, I at least managed to take a small vampire for an wandering stroll.
Soooooo… Mr F P Vampire now safely has a little home at the Apple iBook Store. If you’d like one of your very own go take a look!
Yes, please. I would like to buy a small vampire for my i-thingees…
The Fizzy Pop Vampire – Den Patrick & Sarah Anne Langton
More of those peculiar words and further geeky doing from Den Patrick right here!