Hello! I’m Enoki, the creator of Mini Meditations on Friendship. This is my first ever illustrated book, and to create it has been a wonderful experience and life-long dream come true! But it takes a lot of work – that’s why I’m sharing my process with you!
In Part 2, I showed you how I painted, cleaned up and scanned all my artwork. Now it is time to prepare the final images for print by adding text and deciding upon the layout of the book.
Initially, I created a font using my own handwriting that would be used to express the quotes. Editor Kay Medaglia and I thought this may make everything look more natural and cohesive, as well as easy to edit should there be any spelling or grammatical errors.
When I put it into practice, a memory of comic sans hit me in the face, so instead I turned back to fonts made by the specialists!
Kay and I tested out several fonts and sizes until we found something we both liked and thought would work well in print. The opening letter was capitalised and enlarged as you would see in medieval manuscripts. This gives hierarchy and a point of focus to the text, as well as working more harmoniously with the illustration.
Initially, we were going to go for full coloured text, but in the end opted for either white or black, to give consistency to the whole book.
During the concept stage, I had mentioned that I had wanted to channel the happy feelings friendships can bring… but looking back at all the pages strewn about on the coffee table, acknowledged that I had betrayed my own concept a little.
As much as I resisted, some of the characters resulted in being depicted rather isolated, whilst others were holding on to each other for comfort. Initially, I felt ashamed that I had struggled with depicting elation, but in the end this was the authenticity that I had sought after all. In Mini Meditations on Friendship, there are the joyous moments I initially intended too. Light and shade peek throughout the book. A testament that friendship is not always as picture-perfect as #friendship makes it out to be. The quotes which have danced around in my mind as I painted them reminded me of this too.
As the text was being proof-read, I found myself printing the entire book in colour on my home printer, then pairing illustrations which worked together to create spreads. Sometimes, the lab technician in you can’t stop being curious! I ended up matching illustrations for the entire book. Thankfully, Kay enjoyed the results, and said this was good because it also saved them time!
The spreads ended up forming the basis of the second maquette. Illustrations were paired based upon their combined balance, composition, colour, visual theme, and weight of text. In ways, each spread resulted in telling a story, but were as individuals different enough that they remained interesting; enhanced by the juxtaposition.
As Kay and I ordered these spreads for the entire book, a little magic occurred. Dialogues formed between each of the three muses mentioned in my initial concept, and told an underlying story throughout the book, of the trials and tribulations of friendship. But there was one illustration that for me didn’t quite fit in anywhere. Sometimes you don’t learn this until you interact with it.
The misfit illustration is this: A teen riding upon the back of a flying dog, joined by more dogs, bats, and the memory of my caterpillar Margo. Kay suggested that it would be the perfect opening image, as it’s a celebratory representation of friendship. I could have left this as the opening image, as Kay was really pleased with it, and the more work you do – especially in relation to limited time! – the more you learn to douse your inner perfectionist qualities. In this case, I felt too strongly that I had to revise the image. I had to match it more with the feeling that my heart sought.
In a good place of being ahead of the schedule, I decided to repaint. As you can see from the comparison, it now looks a lot more jovial than the original, as well as working better with the rest of the book and as an opening image. It’s a greeting to Mini Meditations on Friendship we are really happy with!
Over the next few weeks, I finished by correcting any spelling and reference errors flagged up by the proofreader and worked to complete the Introduction – whilst simultaneously picking out embellishments with Kay to decorate the additional pages. Details regarding the cover were finalised, and the finished files were given a little time to rest before sending them all to the printer. It was bittersweet to see the work come to end.
The connection between an artist and any given subject matter is truly at times a meditation. In the introduction of Mini Meditations on Joy, for instance, Adam Murphy mentions struggling with feeling joyful during the process and how working on the book helped him to rediscover joy in all sorts of things.
For myself, friendship – and relationships in general – are core in all the artwork I produce. Bullying, which I attribute to my first major experiences of friendship, made me incredibly anxious throughout my life. Absorbing the quotes and seeing what comes back out on paper whilst I illustrated each of them has been like therapy! The quotes I have chosen have taught me so many things such as how to further value myself, and to learn to let go of friendships that aren’t working. This has been a painful experience for me at times.
Creating this book has been transformative and such a pleasure to create! I thank Liminal 11 for the amazing opportunity and collaboration. I hope you and your loved ones will enjoy, grow, and greatly benefit from all the wisdom found within the pages of Mini Meditations on Friendship, just as much as I have!
Thank you for reading!