Altho, we were both freaked out- we were also having a great time. The next day we toured a house in town that is unquestionably haunted. (if you believe in that stuff)
All of this made me think of how much I used to love a good ghost story. From the original black and white Caspar the Friendly Ghost cartoon to that book I had ... hmmm. What was that book? It took a few days- but I remembered after several googles.. The Canterville Ghost!! - I had a picture book version- I think I inherited it- it had to be from the 50's. I remembered the old black and white movie version starring Charles Laughton as the ghost and Margaret O'Brien as the little girl.
What a great story- of an American little girl, lonely in a big old mansion in England. She encounters the cranky old ghost of the original owner of the manor and finds a way to redeem him so he can finally rest in peace.
What a fabulous thing to illustrate, I thought!! If it could be illustrated in a fun way, it could be a great graphic novel that kids would snap up - rather than a dusty old short story with a picture of Oscar Wilde on the cover. I did find a few contemporary illustrated versions- the best one by Lisbeth Zwerger.
-So I read the original -and it is WAY different. Very dated- in it's 1887 language and pop culture references to the American ways of the day. The plot and characters are more complex; with a whole family- Mother, Father, older brother, "daughter"of 15, and the twins.
Tho - I liked the story I remembered- where the little girl is the main character and hero, I loved the relationship in the original book between the ghost and the twins. Here in lies the humor. Sir Simon-trying so hard to scare this family is in the end beaten down by the twin boys' mischief. They harass him into hiding and defeat.
I thought I'd tackle the cover this week....
With my head already in family portrait mode- I drew the kids posing in front of the Tudor mantle w/ Sir Simon's portrait hanging above them. Would he be popping out? Then I thought of the graffiti idea. The twins were going to be directly in the middle- but then I thought that would be where the title would go. This was just too busy.
Book covers should be bold- graphic- grabbing.
What if I just focused on the portrait- and the relationship
the ghost has with those boys.
So I did this color sketch (I got a little carried away -'cuz it was fun. )
I kinda like it - he looks quite annoyed. I am planning
to continue with the story on my blog. I'll do black and white interiors
and a few "color plates". When I was little I read
old hard covered books like "Ivanhoe" that belonged to my Grandmother -and I loved
turning the page to see the story come alive on
beautiful full color plates - like finding a treasure in the middle of the pages.