In previous news, the compilation I’d been working on was released in early 2021. The compilation, Nineteen Tales of COVID-19, was organized and edited by Akosua Brown of Jackie Brown Books. The contributors have all lived in or otherwise been associated with Durham Region, east of Toronto. Many have been members of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region.
My former co-worker Rebecca Thompson has illustrated two charming children’s books. Both books were written by Kirstin Dias.
C is for Camp
The first book, published in 2021, is called “C is for Camp”. It’s an alphabet book that describes the journey of a family of bears to their cottage, or “camp”, in the woods. It is utterly charming and makes me intensely miss going to the cottage. Running off the end of the dock into the lake… the way the waves sorted the beautiful multicoloured sand of the beach… the smell of the woods… I miss it intensely.
But I was thinking… we always called it ‘the cottage’, not ‘camp’. To me, a ‘camp’ is an organized thing for public-school students. However, my sister lives in Sault Ste. Marie and calls it ‘camp’. Imagine my joy when I saw that Kirsten Dias, the author of “C is for Camp”, is from Sault Ste. Marie!
I sent a message to a friend asking for their address so I could send them a copy of the Toki Pona translation of TLLF. And we ended up having a long discussion.
I sent along copies of the PDF and the epub of the book, and… the epub did not open properly in the Sumatra PDF/epub reader on Windows!
A screenshot revealed that Sumatra was attempting to display the ebook as if it were a reflowable ebook (thanks to Anne-Marie Concepción’s epub course on LinkedIn Learning, I know what that looks like). Plus, it wasn’t displaying the sitelen pona font at all.
So during the discussion, I fired up my Windows 10 virtual machine for the first time in quite a while (I run an Intel Mac), installed Sumatra PDF, and opened the epub. And the same error happened.
Afterwards, more experimentation. So far I have established:
Sumatra PDF/epub viewer (Windows only) does not seem to have any idea that fixed-format ebooks exist. There is no mention of them in the program’s documentation or settings. It tries to display the epub as a reflowable-format epub.
Adobe Digital Editions displays the epub properly on MacOS 10.15 but not on Windows 10. On Windows, it positions most of the text properly, but the sitelen pona font is not shown at all, and the text that would have that font applied is shown overlapping the latin-letter text.
Calibre displays the fixed-format epub and the sitelen pona font properly on both Mac and Windows.
Apple Books displays the epub properly on the Mac.
I am now thinking that it may be time to completely rethink my epubs and implement them as reflowables with the pictures inline. This will require issuing new ISBNs for those ebooks that I have issued as fixed-pormat epubs,
I think I’ve found a workaround to my font issues in the ebook version of the Toki Pona translation of The Lonely Little Fridge! I’ll be able to put out an ebook after all!
The book is put together with Toki Pona text, with both latin letters and a Toki Pona script called sitelen pona (“good drawing”), in parallel. The sitelen pona text is actually regular latin text with a special font applied, which changes its appearance drastically.
The sitelen pona text was not appearing properly in the ebook version. And only in the ebook version. Text in PDFs for print appeared properly, even though both ebook and PDF were exported from the same InDesign file!
Figuring what was actually going on is a tale of exploration into strange new places…
Today I got an update. The books have been printed, but have not been shipped yet. In the meantime, the promised digital copy was made available (early!) to backers.
I was flipping through it on my phone at lunch at work. And even in those few minutes, I found three things that help with my children’s book projects, as well as with characters I am developing for other projects!
Now I am going through it and realizing there is so much more to learn… and my next projects will benefit enormously from the organization of the production process that this book teaches.
This book will have pride of place on my comics-creation shelf next to works like Kevin Tinsley’s “Digital Prepress for Comic Books”, Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” series, the Etherington brothers’ “How to Think When You Draw” series, and Duc’s “L’Art de la BD”… not to mention all the books about actual drawing and writing.
I am so excited by this!
Filth & Grammar is by Shelly Bond with Imogen Mangle, Laura Hole & Sofie Dodgson edited by William Potter & Heather Goldberg proofread by Arlene Lo cover by Philip Bond
Off Register Press, Los Angeles, 2022
ISBN 979-8-9855622-0-0 (hardcover) ISBN 979-8-9855622-1-7 (softcover)
A couple of nights ago, I had a short dream in the drawing style of Camila Nogueira. After I woke up, I quickly drew a rough sketch storyboard in the Tiny Sketchbook I take everywhere with me, enough for me to remember it.
I think I’m going to do a proper storyboard and then do my first rough-draft animation, or “animatic“. It’s only a very short sequence, 15 seconds or so. I am thinking that it will be a kind of “Hello World” work as I step into the world of the animatic.
In the world of computer programming, a “Hello World” program is traditionally the first simple program you write when you are learning a new programming language, environment, or toolset. All it does is print or display the words “Hello World”. Sounds simple, yes? Perhaps. But it is a critical step for the programmer, because it shows that they have figured out how to operate the tools required to create the program, which may be a completely new set of equipment or commands… or familiar ones used in new ways.
So this is my Hello World animatic. I haven’t actually made one before, and I have to figure out how to do it. Scan in externally-drawn images? Draw them on the computer? And how do I put them together with the right timing, and add sounds? Photoshop? AfterEffects? Clip Studio Paint? Audacity? Something else? And where do I get the sounds?
I’ve been wanting to do this since I was in animation school all those years ago…
Yes, today a passing remark from a co-worker crystallized a lot of stuff in my head, and now I have titles and ideas for the first two sequels to The Lonely Little Fridge!
I give you…
The Lonely Little Fridge: Spin Cycle
Little Fridge is settling into his new home, in the apartment with the guys. He starts to connect to the community of appliances and other devices in the apartment. But one day he is covered in damp clothes! The apartment is crowded with hanging damp clothes placed everywhere! It seems the apartment clothes washer and dryer has broken down.
Little Fridge sees the repair tech arrive. He’s afraid. Will the washer/dryer be thrown away like he was? And then the tech opens up the washer/dryer! What is this frightening event?
But then suddenly the washer/dryer is put back together, and starts operating normally. The guys rejoice and start gathering up the clothes to re-wash and finally dry them. Little Fridge can feel the joy of the washer/dryer, knowing it has been cared for and saved.
The Lonely Little Fridge: Spin Cycle will be followed by The Lonely Little Fridge: Rest Easy.
This story will be about the guys rescuing an abandoned chair. It’s inspired by the picture nearby, which was forwarded to me by another co-worker with the words, “This reminded me of you.”
And now for something completely different: the figure drawing and background artwork of Pegah Arabi. It’s done in a painterly style. Some of the portraits are in black and white. Look at the proportions and light and shadow! I have a lot to learn about drawing necks…
Another of the stunning artists from Linked!n. Her work is also magical rooftops and cityscapes, but it’s completely different in feel than Camila Nogueira’s. The colour palettes are different, the style is less rigorously technical, and it feels friendly and small-scale, showing quiet moments in peoples’ lives.
Camila Nogueira is a Portuguese illustrator, one of the artists I found on LinkedIn. Some of Camila’s works show the rooftops and alleys of fantastic cities, but others show fantasy landscapes and floating buildings. The style is a fusion of technical illustration and magical realism. And the colours are stunning. And apparently some of the artworks are of real places…?