El Deafo Extras: What did El Deafo first look like?

3 Sep

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:

00Page

Page01

Page02

Page03

Page04

Page05

Page06

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.

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13 Responses to “El Deafo Extras: What did El Deafo first look like?”

  1. TheDarkKnight September 3, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Is that Tom who says “HEY! What are those things in your ears? Are you… Deaf?”

    • Cece Bell September 4, 2014 at 12:23 am #

      No! I didn’t know Tom back then! It was just some kid from a long time ago.

      • TheDarkKnight September 4, 2014 at 12:24 am #

        Oh. 🙂

  2. freshhell September 5, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    Very excited to own my own copy. I love reading about how books begin, grow, change and become the final version of themselves. Kinda like people. 🙂

  3. hamsterjp September 17, 2014 at 4:35 am #

    I just got this book from Tom yesterday!! I just finished it. Beautiful book! Reading it aagain. I like your sense of humour in it ^_^

    • Cece Bell September 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

      So glad you are enjoying the book! Hope you had a good time hanging out with Tom!

  4. misse619 October 6, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    hey cece. do you know if you can come on a trour to ohio? please please please please please!?!?!??!!?!?!?!??!?!! sfTANNER by the way. don’t ask how I got my name.

    • misse619 October 6, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      (misse619) don’t ask about that name.

  5. nick mulcahy October 12, 2014 at 12:55 am #

    El Deafo enters the pantheon of Great Graphic Novels for Kids (and Adults). It is up there with stuff from Raina Telgemiar, Dave Roman, Faith Erin Hicks, Jeff Smith, and others. My daughter and I (her Dad) LOVED it—there is an ongoing tension in the story that is universal–will I be liked and befriended? Or will be disliked and ignored/rejected? This is part of all of our lives…The story never flags– drama goes on every page. But it is never melodramatic. Bravo! And the artwork is fantastic too. Can’t say enough about this book.

    • Cece Bell October 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      Wow! Thank you so much for your very kind words. I really appreciate it. You are awesomesauce!

  6. Evan Borodin October 11, 2015 at 1:49 am #

    That’s a cool edition of the book but I like the current one more. In El Deafo, when Laura says that Mrs. Lufton is beautiful, is that voicing your own thoughts?

    P.S I love El Deafo!!!!!!

    • Cece Bell October 12, 2015 at 11:13 am #

      Hi Evan, I’m glad you like the final version of the book more than its “sketch phase” version! When Laura says that she thinks Mrs. Lufton is beautiful, she was voicing her own thoughts, which were pretty much the thoughts of everyone in that class. Mrs. Lufton really was beautiful!

      Thank you for reading the book. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it!

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