When Chris first suggested this project, I
immediately thought of a lettering style that reminds me of the shape of olives. Then I pulled out some wonderful Indian hand-made paper from my stash, with a golden tan color and inclusions of bits of grass or straw. I did a few sample bits lettering with olive-green type colors and sent to my sisters.
As the project started to become a reality I
searched for that paper to no avail. Apparently it is no longer available so I had to deal with changing papers and Carol had started paintings based on the colors in the original
Working with editor and art director was new
for me - making all the page layouts work with their suggestions for which words and phrases to emphasize was a lot trickier than I would have guessed. It helped a lot to change from using
larger letters to using a heavier style for those parts, something I wish I had tried much sooner. Most of my work has not been books, so I felt constrained by the need to have pages of uniform
layout. It was a great learning experience but I spent far too much time on layouts before getting out the paints - and of course getting to the actual writing quickly showed me that I needed to make
I ended up using a German mold-made paper
called Niddegen that I have always liked. It has laid lines and a good surface for writing, and takes corrections well. I did end up using a very slight gold wash which ended up scanning even more
The writing was done using EF66 nibs (clipped
and sanded, I did five to make sure I had at least three equal width in case of breaking) and Mitchel-Rexell nibs for larger letters. The colors are all gouache and you may notice that there is
always a color change between the narration and speaking. The gradual color changes are done by adding a new color to what is already in the pen nib.
I kept one nib for greenish and one for
reddish, filling with a brush from a batch of various shades mixed ahead of time.
I enjoyed finding ways to make the letters reminiscent of not only
olives but branches, plants, twigs, etc. and tried to harmonize the colors with each of Carol's wonderful paintings.