After I completed a very detailed outline for El Deafo, I decided I needed to create some finished-looking pages to show whoever was going to look at it for possible publication. It’s quite a bit different, in that I thought the final book would be dimensionally bigger, and I was working in my usual picture-book-y style. (Remember, I had NO experience with graphic novels, except for reading them and inhaling the amazing Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics 3 times in a row. I really did not know what I was doing.) I initially thought I’d be working in Illustrator (ha ha, yeah, right), so there’s that. I also did the color work for this, and since I like patterns and am too overwhelmed by life in general to add shadows to my artwork, my version looks like a well-lit fabric shop. Here’s what I submitted to my first choice as editor, the amazing Susan Van Metre of Abrams/Amulet (who luckily for me, decided to risk it). Definitely grab a copy of the book and compare this version of Chapter 4 with the final version in the book:
Susan’s comments were: can you make it dimensionally smaller—say, 6″ x 9″? Can you age it up a bit? When I asked, should I keep the people-as-rabbits thing? She said, Goodness, YES!—but be sure to make the rabbits different shades of tan and gray. So I made the revised pages smaller and aged the artwork up a bit and kept the rabbits-as-people thing and made them different colors and you can see the results in the final book. A lot changed for the better, but the good stuff stayed pretty much the same.
Thanks for reading! And thanks, too, for the many good vibes I’ve gotten from folks about the book thus far.