My husband, a very practical man, prefers to begin those conversations though which he hopes to relieve some fear or concern of mine with the tried and true opening phrase “the reality is…”
“The reality is a little toilet water won’t permanently damage our son.”
“The reality is he’s is a boy with a natural thirst for danger, thus his desire to jump off of the kitchen table.”
Reality, ah yes, what a good place to launch the discussion. Where should we begin? With reality!
Over the past few months, as Betsy and I have plodded our way through a few delays in the publishing process, I have taken comfort in applying my husband’s preferred phrase to our current situation.
The reality is this: we have never before undertaken a project like Wandeling Press. Betsy, although a very talented writer and teacher, had never before written a children’s book. And although I’ve painted a number of commissioned works prior to our collaboration, I had never before illustrated a book, children’s or otherwise. And certainly, neither of us had ever launched our own publishing house. That is to say, until now. The reality is that we are just a couple of newbies. New moms. New children’s authors. New illustrators. New publishers.
The process of creating the first book of Wandeling Press, Woolies for the Winter, began without a hitch. The artistic collaboration between Betsy and myself was a dream! Ideas flew back and forth between Minnesota and Ohio via, texts, emails, phone calls and countless dynamic Facetime sessions. We collaborated with amazing creatives like videographer Sarah Gerber and graphic designer Matt Crutchmer. And we watched delightedly as our story came to life and gained the enthusiastic support of our Kickstarter backers.
And then a new reality.
The reality was this: watercolors, depending upon the artist’s technique, can be very difficult to scan without marring the colors and textures of the original work. When scanned, light from the scanner catches all of the raised areas of the cold press (textured) paper creating unnatural shadows and color distortions. As it also happens, my light style of painting does not translate very well at all when scanned with your typical scanner. To color correct them within Photoshop is extremely tedious and with some scans impossible.
Once we discovered the problem, the hunt for a solution began. This month-long hunt entailed packing up both the original watercolors and my less than compliant 17 month-old to make several trips to dozens of local print shops.
This presented its own difficult reality: it is very hard to be taken seriously while arguing with the clerk at a high-end giclee printing company that the color integrity of your hedgehog illustrations simply must be maintained. Add to this the fact that your exhausted pint-sized colleague can only handle so many trips in one day and so chooses to voice his frustration by throwing a full-on temper tantrum at your feet.
This is the reality behind Wandeling Press. Betsy and I are two real moms attempting to write, and paint and scan and publish while all the while editing papers, teaching classes, caring for our own homes and chasing after the two little kiddos who inspired this adventure. This undertaking is messy, comical and so worthwhile. Our books are inspired by the sweet everyday realities of motherhood and sometimes delayed by life’s more difficult realities as well.
Thankfully, we were finally able to procure some top-notch scans with the necessary color corrections and we are back on track. These before and after images should help give you an idea of the problems we faced.
As always, Betsy and I are very grateful to all our supporters for their patience and encouragement as we work to bring Woolies for the Winter to your bookshelves.