15 days to go: The Steamduck Duo’s Third Man…

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Theresa Curtis - Layout goddess

… who happens to be a woman. The Beatles had George Martin. Football teams have the 12 Man. Whitney Houston (rest her soul) had Clive Davis. Even Holden had Banky (and he wasn’t just a tracer!). The world is full of those undersung heroes that make average people (like me and Kevin*) extraordinary.

We have Theresa Meihwa Curtis, our layout designer.

Theresa is an avid collector of children’s books -and the opportunity to lay out a book was something so tempting to Theresa that we suckered into working like a dog for us  got a pro designer to help us sort our mess of words and drawings into a real book-like thingy.

What does the layout designer do? First, Theresa proposed the overall shape of the book – she pointed to Neil Gaiman’s Instructions – saying it was the size we were thinking about, and a particular page in the book that had a shading scheme that seemed to be what I was babbling about. (She never said it like that – she’s about the nicest person I’ve ever met – and I have never seen her cross – not ever. I bet it’s scary if she gets in a snit, but I doubt it ever happens. Seriously.)

Her pointing out that picture truly saved 1000 words, and we were off and running.

The layout designer chooses the very letters on the page. There was a long discussion about what font to use, and I wanted an ‘A’ that looked like a circle with a stick. She politely blinked at me, trying to decide if I’d lost my mind, and said, “Ah, you want a ‘single story A’, as opposed to a ‘two story A’. I see,” and trotted out several fonts to try – including the one we decided on: Treasure Map Deadhand.

So, that’s what it looks like!  The other thing Theresa did was to color William Kevin Petty’s pencil sketches. When I first babbled explained to Theresa what I wanted, I said I wanted it to be something like OLD film. Sepia-tones. I had played with several of Kevin’s sketches with the crappy image software I have on my little lappy, and I found that I liked several of the earth tone tints. Theresa and I picked the basic background tone and then decided that we would only use varying intensities of that tone. Okay, she suggest it and I blinked and nodded a whole lot. In the end (with ONE exception – the rainbow butterfly) there are only 4 colors in the book: gold (the background color), orange, blue and green. The overall effect was similar to the hand painted celluloid of George Melies:

Now, let me show you! The picture on the left is Kevin’s original scan, and the right is the layout as it appears in the book:

Neat, right?

She’s made of awesome. AND – she did the whole book in a WEEK!

So, much like Luke never would have been able to use the force without that sweet little R2-D2 running the X-wing, we owe a good bit of respect and appreciation to our Theresa. She rocks.


*Correction: Kevin is not ordinary. Kevin actually rocks in every possible way.


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