February 6, 2008

If books were like movies...

If books were like movies, then this new book I've been working on would be a historical costume drama. It's non-fiction in theory, but I've tried to make it read like a fictional story. It's set in the past... 100 years ago, so it appears that everyone is in costume.

It's more of a Jules Verne type story, with astonishing adventure to do with dirigibles, flying bicycles and that sort of thing. I actually sent away to the patent office trying to get some kind of copyright on the story, since I think it'd make a terrific movie. And that was even before I sold it to G.P. Putnams & Sons B.F.Y.R.

I have discovered that it requires a goodly deal of attention to detail to recreate scenes from a past age. In fact it takes a LOT of drawing! It requires drawing until one's hand is ready to fall off, essentially.

Just categorically, I'm sure in the last few months I have drawn the following: (partial listing):

4 horses, complete with harness detailing
3 carriages (those spoked wheels are challenging!)
3 antique motor cars
15 vintage skyscrapers including the Flatiron building
150 costumed extras for background scenes
17 feathered hats
12 pigeons
15 bicycles (bicycles are notoriously difficult to draw)
16 bowler hats and the gentlemen wearing them
12 straw hats and the gentlemen wearing them
14 ladies in fancy full length skirts
16 dirigibles
16 victorian houses
16 assorted odd children in vintage garb
1 Titanic like steam ship
7 odd bizarre flying machines
4 picket fences... (those take a while)
2 ironwork fences (those do too!)
5 assorted lawns and park settings
4 barn interiors with multitudes of tools and furniture
22 drawings of the main character
17 drawings of the character's mother
12 drawings of the pet dog
1 complete vintage fire fighting crew, with antique firefighting pump truck
5 barrels
37 tiny people in a crowd, with aerial perspective

Oh... and I have drawn the complete 1904 World's Fair including Ferris Wheel.

I mention all of this mostly to point out the difficulty of achieving such a task for someone who basically has a hard time drawing. I make up for it with erasing and stubbornness though.

I think my next book effort will be an emotionally based story with two cute little animal characters... no crowd scenes or perspective required!

p.s. No, this is not the finished art... just the pencils. And that's the drawing just for one scene!


Phyllis Harris said...

Wow John! I'm impressed!! That IS a lot of drawing!!! I love your characters and background stuff, buildings, etc, etc, etc...

Is this for a piece you have written and already sold or are you preparing it to start sending off? Just curious.

John Nez said...

Thanks... now you see why I need to slosh paint on canvas on the weekends with a housepainting brush!

This is a book I've sold to Putnams... probably will be out next Fall, I guess.


me said...

Reading your list of characters John, I noticed you left out the "Partridge in a Pear tree"! (LOL)Sounds like an interesting book to me.

Phyllis Harris said...

Congrats on the sale John!! Be sure to let us know at PBAA when it comes out.