Pictures on a Page

I ALWAYS like the stage where I’ve got sufficient illustrations and text together to start laying out the pages of a book. I’ve been worrying about whether this or that illustration is the best I can do and naturally I’ll continue to fret over that but it’s worth dropping them into a page layout to remind myself that they were never intended to be works of art, to be scrutinised in isolation. I need to see how they work as part of a spread.

Seeing them on-screen in my desktop publishing programme isn’t enough; I need to print out one or two sample spreads. My laser printer isn’t going to give me the look of a real paperback but it serves as a guide. I feel that books should be tactile but, with its line artwork, it occurs to me that this would a good title to try publishing as an e-book.

The pen and ink lines have a crispness about them in print that I can’t show you on a 100 dot per inch screen. My commercial printer advises me to scan line work at 1200 dots per inch, which is the maximum my desktop CanoScan 8800F is capable of.

Whatever my misgivings about each cartoon, I’m pleased with the way they do the job of illuminating the definitions of Victorian Yorkshire dialect words and expressions that are the subject of my book. I’m going a bit over the top by including so many cartoons but if the book was a text-only list of definitions it would run the risk of looking rather academic.

The variation in style in the illustrations, as I struggled to find the best approach, isn’t a disadvantage as it adds some variety but I do have my favourites: the drinkers on a bench in the first spread and the beetle and mole in the second.

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