Sunday, December 23, 2007


In case you haven't heard, an "Amber Alert" of sorts has been issued for the contents of one unpublished children's book by the name of "That Baby." On Tuesday, 11 December, I was home from work on a snow day. While in the process of moving the contents of the G4 Mac to the MacBook, I created a file and labeled it "trash." These were documents that had been saved up over the past few years, that we no longer needed. I accidentally dragged the Photoshop files for "That Baby" into this folder, where it awaited its fate. A while later, thinking I was finished, I put this folder into the trash at the bottom of the screen. As I sat, watching the progress of the "emptying" of the trash, it occurred to me that I had not yet moved the file to "That Baby" over to the new computer. And if it wasn't visibly on the desktop, and it wasn't on the MacBook, then it could have only been in one other place. I quickly hit "cancel" to end the cleaning, but it was too late. "That Baby" was gone. And, for some reason, realized that I had never bothered to save it to a disc. There was one last possibility. I found a CD-R titled "design stuff, 06-07" and checked its contents. As you may have guessed, every design project I had done in the past two years was accounted for...with the exception of "That Baby."

Was it completely gone? No. There was still the hard copy. The version that I had printed out and had fashioned a dummy hard cover book from. So it's not really "lost." Well, yes it is. Without the original electronic files, I can't go back and fix anything I'd done. Even if I scanned the pages from the book and made new files in Photoshop (which I did), I can't go back and change the font and placement of the type. Or the wording. Or, in regard to the illustrations, I can't mess with the color or the expressions on the baby's face. By scanning copies of the pages, I don't really have the book. It would be like having a photo of your lost child and saying that you actually have the child. I've taken a huge step backward. The only two things I have out of the way are the initial drawings and the story itself. So, yeah, it could be a lot worse.

So, thankfully, I have a top notch scanner at work. On the day before winter break, I scanned each illustration from the dummy copy of the book on the highest resolution that I could. I was hoping to spend the next two weeks, sending out copies to agents and publishers. Instead, I've been sitting at my in-laws' house, hunched over the computer, reworking the pages one at a time. This being the second day, I've managed to clean up one illustration thus far (the one posted above). It's been a tedious process of converting the illustrations from CMYK to Grayscale and then adding colors back in. Then darkening in the lines and rebuilding layers. With any luck, by the time I return to work on 7 January, I will have most of these drawings cleaned up and recolored. Who knows, maybe it'll end up looking even better.


Anonymous 'sawblade said...

That is a bummer. If it's any consolation, I remember one time when I diligentally recorded a song on my home 8 track over like a month period, and had it all perfect, then I accidentally erased it. I was bummed out, but I re-recorded and it actually turned out better than it was. Point is, quite possibly it may turn out for the better, who knows. Lemonade out of lemons, or whatever they say.

28 December, 2007  
Anonymous Gaby said...

The whole time I'm reading the story I'm afraid to read that somehow all the work has been lost and "That Baby" will only remain as an image in our memories. So I was very glad to get to the part where it says that you can somehow reconstruct the drawings and text from the only hard copy that exists. I guess it could have been a lot worse, although I can only imagine how tedious the reconstruction must be.

28 December, 2007  
Blogger Mark Teel said...

Actually, I think the pages are looking even better now. I think when this happens and you're forced to redo it, you include little things that you see missing when you proofread the "final" version. Then you're able to add these things in the second time around.

I think this was God's way of telling me to get off my butt and get this book published.

28 December, 2007  

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