"This is Meghan."
"Yeah, Meghan, this is Mark. Could you do another illustration for The Book of Bartholomew?"
"Oh...," she said with disappointment in her voice.
"No, Meghan, really, I could use your help," I begged.
She hesitated. I knew I had her.
"What's the story?" she asked reluctantly.
"Mo and the Tree of Want." I continued telling her the story for the next five minutes without interruption. She then had a series of questions about Mo and about the tree. Eventually, she agreed to illustrate the story, but insisted it would just be a black and white drawing. "Fine," I said, relieved that the project would get done. I had gotten behind on my deadlines and was in a free fall. Without her help there was no way I was going to get this story published on time. For some reason, everyone else had refused. Maybe it was my caustic disregard for their talents, or the way they had to harass me to get their payments, or the way I would mock their significant others, their wardrobe or their hair. I didn't have time to think about these things, I needed to complete Bartholomew, NOW!
The above story never really happened. Meghan eagerly agreed to illustrate another story, as have the other illustrators I am employing to help me finish the last stories in The Book. Meghan even offered to color the wonderful illustration she created for Mo and the Tree of Want. But I realized there wasn't another story in The Book of Bartholomew that was illustrated in black and white. Color, color, color, everywhere else - how depressing. So, I decided to create the layout for this story in black and white. With this concept of less being more, I also kept the font simple (trebuchet, 20pt.) and left the ends of the lines of text uneven. The pages of the story are white with a light grey image behind the text. The background images are sections taken from Meghan's drawing and then enlarged and lightened. She did provide a nice border strip for the margins and I used that on the last page, opposite her full illustration. Simple. But when you have something as good as a Meghan Hogan illustration, you don't need much else.
Thanks, Maggie, for the continued partnership! To check out more of Meghan's wonderful illustrations and her hand-made toys, go to: http://www.startledmaggie.com/
Mo and the Tree of Want will be published on Friday, January 27 at The Book of Bartholomew.