Concept and Adaptation:
The concept for my book was to simulate a journey. I thought the snake book was appropriate with its twists and turns, the ups and downs of an adventure. The snake book, I feel, is a good tangible representation of a journey which was the theme of the content. The narrator makes a physical journey in search of her lover, but also a personal journey and she grows in self-confidence.
I used the original title of the short story, “Travels with the Snow Queen” because the theme of my book is travel/journey and it fit perfectly. If I had thought of a better title, I would have renamed it, but if the shoe fits…(foot puns, this is what I get for working with this text non stop for a week).
The hardest thing for me was figuring out how to adapt the snake book. It just seemed perfect the way it was for this story. What could I do to make it different? I decided to make a pamphlet book that fits into one of the folds of the snake book. There is a moment in the text where the tone changes and the narrator addresses her audience and entices them to sign up for Snow Queen Tours. I thought a little pamphlet would be appropriate for this section of text, like a brochure from Snow Queen Tours Company. I literally stretched the snake book by using 18”x24” paper I ended up with 18 pages of 3” x 3” per book, which doesn’t seem like a lot until you hand write every word ten times! Other than the pamphlet book and the bloody footprints on the back, I really didn’t know what else to do to adapt the snake book and make it something more.
Typography and Graphics:
As much as I hating writing everything and will probably never handwrite anything so long again in my life, I do like the personal feel the handwritten text gives. The narrator is really approachable. It’s like she’s telling you a story. So it makes sense that it has a (hopefully) personal passing notes to your friend in class intimacy. Also, I liked that I typed the text for the pamphlet. Type is more formal and professional, like what you’d expect to see in a brochure. I chose to use Helvetica, a widely beloved and recognized font that can serve many purposes. It is professional, but the sans serifs give it a more fun, less rigid feel than say Times New Roman.
As for the graphics, I am uber-proud of the bloody footprints stamps on the back of the snake book text block. They are probably my favorite part of the book and although time consuming and sometimes a little frustrating, they worked out almost exactly as I had envisioned.
My favorite part of the excerpt was the list at the end. Gerda keeps a list of all the things she’s going to say to Kay, her lover when she sees him again. I’ve marked each point of her list with a little feet foot print (drawn with a red Sharpie). I wanted there to be some color in the actual text, not just on the back and I thought this would be a good way to show the bloody footprints in the text.
Also, in the pamphlet, I sketched a foot stepping on little exes which are supposed to represent the pain the little mermaid feels when she walks. A few pages later, I sketched a worn out pair of boots. Both images, I pulled from the content on the facing page.
Failures: My hand has a mind of its own and sometimes writes things I don’t want it to. There are some letters I had to change into other letters. And I think I left out 2 words in one book because I skipped them and when I realized that, I didn’t want to cross them out in black ink, so I left it the way it was. And I really am not a fan of whiteout. I usually just avoid writing in pen if I can help it. If I had had more time, I would have purchased some whiteout, or even made a paper bandaid with the correct word on top, but I was more concerned with getting all 10 books completed by the deadline.
Biggest failure: I tried to do too much instead of focusing on a smaller amount of text and really pulling out the imagery with book art. This is the lesson I hope to take away from the midterm. LESS IS MORE. I look back at this project and see all the things I could have done, if only I’d had more time.
What would I do differently?
My biggest revision would be to incorporate more color. Right now, it’s black words on white paper (boring) with red footprints and a royal blue and azure pamphlet. It needs more color because the only colors are patriotic and there is nothing patriotic about this text. In my revision (which, let’s be honest, will probably never happen) I’d love to almost make it a book with illustrations. Not like a children’s book with a big splash page every other sentence, but little illustrations or even hints of color throughout. There are so many great images just in the excerpt of Travels with the Snow Queen I chose to work with that I would have liked to done more with. I definitely took care of the bloody footprints, but I would have like to do more with the broken glass trail. Nothing felt right so I left it out all together. Also, when the main character, Gerda, is with Briar Rose, everything about the princess is pink. I thought a light pink shade over the text would be fitting in that section. At one point, Gerda, dips her bloody feet into a blue stream that is like blue fur. There’s so much I could do with that one scene! In my head, I see one book (not 10, which I know was the purpose of this project) where every page has an illustration/graphic that represents the content of that page, even if it’s just a briar wall border for the pages about Briar Rose, the sleeping beauty.
Wow, just had an idea for a textless book. It would just be a map with bloody footprints, streams, a pink castle, a briar wall, etc. The images would tell the story. What an undertaking, but it would be fun. Or just make it into a board game. Why am I now just getting all these ideas?!
I would also have liked to incorporate another book form at the end of the excerpt. The list of things Gerda plans to say to Kay, she keeps folded up in her pocket. It would have been interesting to make this list it’s own book within a book using the scroll form, or that one form we didn’t make in class, that is basically a sheet of paper folded up with two covers. You open the cover, and the sheet unfolds.
All in all, even though it’s not perfect and doesn’t completely match the original concept, I like the end product and it has inspired me. I now know what I would do differently if I were to adapt this book again, or even adapting another work, my own perhaps.