Last week, finally a little package arrived.
Inside were the prototype books I had ordered to check the look and feel of the fairytale Below the Floor.
It was thicker than I thought it would be. When I was writing Below the Floor, I thought that it would be somewhere around 3 or 4 millimetres, like a thin magazine, but it turned out to be anywhere around 1 cm. Hm, nice.
Of course the cover you can see above is just a placeholder, as I haven’t drawn the final cover yet. Also, the fonts, line spacing, position and aligment of the illustrations will change, as I did not care about that when I was pasting the text and paintings into the layout programme. The advantages of doing quick and dirty prototypes is something I learned soon after had finished university, when I did in old school HTML (websites) and usability consulting. But this was another life.
Apart from checking the look and feel of the story as a whole, I had printed these prototypes because I wanted to have something to send to my friends who will give me story feedback. I wanted something more to send than just a PDF file.
And I wanted to see where potential layout problems could arise before I (or someone else) start doing the real layout work (after the book was translated). It was worth doing so, because there were some illustrations which worked really well for themselves, but did not when layouted into a book. Like the image below, where you can see Gordo Vego, one of the kobolds, in his kitchen: I thought, that it would look cool, if the illustration spread to the adjacent page and went over the page (into the bleed). It did not.
While it looked sweet in the layout programme, it did not work in the printed version. There were several images that had similar problems, but which I won’t post at this moment, because they would spoil too much of the story. 🙂
But this is nothing you can’t fix. The solution is simple: Going back to a more traditional text/illustration-arragement, like I did with the portrait of the grumpy doorknocker. This illustration was intended from the very beginning to be placed on a page without any text above or below, very much like in fairytale books from the 1920s or 1950s.
There is still a ton of detail work to be done, like adjusting the size, placement and font type of the page number, block text, and so on. But, still, it felt somehow special finally holding a printed prototype – even though it was full of flaws and unfinished – in my hands. 🙂
Oh, and I haven’t been lazy the weeks I was waiting for the printed books. I have started a new story already, but more about that later.