The Winning Pup

By | Saturday, December 05, 2009 Leave a Comment
I visited the folks over Thanksgiving, and Mom passed along to me the very first book I ever wrote back when I was nine years old. Our teacher, Mrs. Charles, had everyone in the class write an 18-page illustrated story, each of which was bound (in retrospect, she must've gotten some kind of grant for that) with a cover we designed. Basically a children's book, only written and drawn by a child.

Me? I had the "clever" notion that I could tell a story with artwork only! That way, I reasoned, I wouldn't have to actually write anything. It'd just be all pictures! Of course, when I started, I didn't realize quite how difficult I would make things for myself using that approach!

I don't recall much about the writing process itself. I do remember Dad gave me some pointers on drawing dogs -- I distinctly recall learning about how their hind legs really look. Although I don't have as clear a recollection on this point, I can see faint traces of my original #2 pencil sketches underneath the finished product, so I obviously did preliminary layout work. The story itself was rendered in colored pencil. I believe I tried inking/coloring with markers, but since each piece of art I made was what was actually bound into the book, I couldn't ultimately use them because it bled through the paper.

I also don't specifically recall much about the cover. I know Mrs. Charles was thrilled that I had this clever idea of using a faux fur cutout of the main character, and even moreso when I deliberately did NOT glue his ear down, allowing it flap a little as the reader picked up the book. I'm betting that was Mom or Dad's idea and not mine.

Since I didn't actually write text to accompany the story, most of the storytelling devices I used to relay the "plot" come very directly from comics. The thought balloon motif, speed and motion lines, visible sound effects, probably even the notion of perspective (although I clearly hadn't mastered it at that age)...

In any event, Mom still had that book and passed it along to me recently. It doesn't exactly lay flat, so I couldn't scan the pages, but I did take photos to share with you all. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present my very first book, written and drawn when I was nine years old: The Winning Pup...

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