Monday, May 16, 2011

The Illustrations

Having written the story of the sharks and put them into a framework including a myriad of other creatures, I realized that my readers might not know how all these characters appear when one is underwater with them.

So as soon as the first draft of the book was finished, I switched activities to swiping various combinations of  inks, paints, chalk, bleach, and water over papers of different sorts and colours, in an effort to learn the best way to paint sharks in black and white.

I wanted each to be a writer-to-reader message in an image instead of words–an artist’s sketch, not a polished work that one might do to put in a gallery.
In the following weeks I  found that a combination of soaked water colour paper, writing ink, and bleach worked well, and painted a few of the sharks before going back to rewrite the text of the book.

The rest of the illustrations were completed in a whirl of activity while  it was being edited, so fortunately, text and illustrations were ready for AEG Publishing at about the same time. It seemed important to provide an image of each of the species that play a role in the story. To set a framework for the material on thinking in sharks, the case histories of some others were included.

The example above is a portrait of Flora as she was when I met her, snapping up a fish.  She is one of the sharks who are important to the story, and who was finned before the BBC could arrive to film them.

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