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The Night of Elisa – Character artworks and concept sketches that did not make it to the trade book

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When I first started the creative process for The Night of Elisa, my idea was to have a fully painted portrait for each character in the book as well as paintings of scenes, environments and objects. I actually started some of these illustrations and had to put the dream on stand-by for someday in the future.

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Leonhard

At the time – as it is now, I had no funding to take hours and hours to make a fully illustrated/graphical edition of the work. To embark in such endeavour, I would need to stop client work, and doing that would mean I would starve to death and sleep under the bridge before I completed the project and my business as illustrator would come to an end. Such a dreadful reality!

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Berenice

There was yet another issue that weighted on me never finishing the original project, and that was the print costs. A fully graphical book the way I wanted would need to be printed in color and due to the length of the story, the final price would be heavy for the readers.

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Elisa

Depending on crowdfunding platforms was not an option. I see them as me, the creative mind, being at the mercy of people. In other words: If they backed my project I would make it, if not, I would be frustrated and back to square 1. No! I am not that kind of person. If I want to do something, I just do it, regardless of people’s approval, as long as I have the means to do it.

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Dr. Charles

So, my solution to the problem was to keep it simple and affordable. I did quick pencil sketches, which saved me a lot of time – even though that still took me several hours/days of my free time. Also, they were great for the standard trade printing, which is good enough for text. I used standard B&W print options from LULU first, and then, CreateSpace. This way, I saved also a lot of money and  made a version of the book much more affordable for the customers as well as more entertaining than a plain text fiction book. Through simplicity, I was able to give readers a special layout and a set of drawings to help them wander through the story.

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The Siamese sisters, Gerania and Ifigenia

Maybe, someday, if I have more financial resources, I will still make this book in the vision I had since the beginning -sepia/full color, glossy paper, fully illustrated AND affordable for customers. I have designed and set up a version of the book that is a bit closer to this vision. I call it The Special Edition. However, it is not yet ideal, since the cost is still very high and it is not fully illustrated due to my lack of resources as mentioned earlier.  Meanwhile, I hope you have enjoyed some of the original concepts you see in this post.

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Quentin
With that, my tip for you today is: Make things simple. If can’t do it in a complex/expensive approach, see how you can fashion an easier/more affordable version of your project that can still cause impact.
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Marcel

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