Scratching an Scratchbord™ surface…

I had some nosy questions for Rosalyn Schanzer about the preparation of her artwork for Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem.

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Joy Chu:  What is the final size of your art? That is, you worked up-size?

Rosalyn Schanzer:  I worked very slightly upsized.  This is really easy to show you in person, but it’s almost impossible to explain in words.

The actual size of a two-page spread in my printed book is 10” wide x 7” high, and the actual size of a single page in my printed book is 5” wide x  7” high.

I used Scratchbord™  (yes, that’s exactly how they spell scratchboard — it’s a trademark).  One of their stock sizes is 16” x 20.” It’s expensive.  So if I cut a piece of it in half to make two 16” x 10” pieces, I could enlarge the artwork for a two-page spread to 12” wide x 8 -3/8” high.

That way I could make two up-sized 2-page spreads using one piece of Scratchbord™ and still have some space left over to add a couple of spot illustrations.

Or I could cut the Scratchbord™ into four pieces and make four single page illustrations that were 6” wide x 8 -3/8” high.  Are you asleep yet? (Nah… I love this kind of info! — JC)

These up-sized pieces of art have to be done in the correct proportion *so that they will fit.

Applying art sizes to your scratchboard

Applying given size dimensions to your scratchboard (click to enlarge)

[* Rosalyn coordinated the correct size dimensions with David, so that all pieces could be sized proportionally at the same percentage. Illustrators must always work closely with their art director on these technical details. — JC]

JC:  Did you send Nancy’s team [at the publishing house] your originals, or scans?

RS:  If I remember correctly, I just sent in the scans, and David Seager, my art director, eventually enlarged them so that the powers that be could take a closer look.

JC:  Did you use scans to indicate where to put in those hot red highlights?

Overlay taped to original art with registered crop marks

(Figure a)   Tissue overlay is taped to original art with registered crop marks (click to enlarge)

RS:  After I did the finished art (in black and white), I taped a removable tracing paper overlay on top of each picture.

I drew crop lines on the tracing paper (figure a, right), applied to line-up perfectly with the crop marks on the original  b&w artwork; and then on the tissue overlay, I used a red marker to show exactly where I wanted the red areas to appear. I also wrote specific instructions on each overlay.

David, in turn, applied the red via his computer. Using high-resolution scans of my b&w art, he added a separate layer using computer software (Photoshop);  inserted the red highlights following my tissues; and then sent me the results.  Most of the time, he got it just right. If I thought the red was in the wrong place or didn’t fit a space the way I wanted it to, I asked him to change it.  (It’s teamwork! — JC)

(click to enlarge)

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