Books: A Love-Hate Relationship
Did you grow up skinning your knees, swimming the seas, and climbing trees?
I did – but that’s not what I remember most about childhood. Instead, when I look back I see a girl hunched over Nancy Drew, devouring every page and guessing whodunit.
After Nancy Drew, I moved on to Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, and eventually Nelson DeMille. I was that kid in high school who carried a five hundred-page novel in her backpack next to chemistry and algebra textbooks.
I was obsessed with books.
Then came college. Intriguing mysteries gave way to tedious textbooks on the horticulture of biology and the rise of the tsars. Kill me with a spoon.
All I did was read – but, it was no longer fun. In fact, I dreaded reading.
It wasn’t until years later and a continent away that I rediscovered my love affair with the written word.
I joined a book club. And… Goodreads.
I read all sorts of books that I never would have picked for myself… and just like that, I was in love again. I found that reading refreshes me even better than a nap. Fancy that.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Our current book club pick, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, spins the fantastic tale of Eleanor, an eccentric single gal living in Glasgow, Scotland.
While immersed in these pages, I heard whispers of Sheldon Cooper, The Rosie Project, A Man Called Ove, and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I won’t say more because this book is a joy, and I don’t want to ruin the plot for you.
While reading Eleanor, I jotted down ideas for icons that appear in the story, and then I sketched them in black ink.
I like that these icons give you a hint about the story but don’t spoil any secrets.
Giving Character to My Eleanor Sketches
As you can see, my sketches are simply that – sketches. I often feel like I go too far, adding too many details and ruining the sketch in the process.
Never fear – Adobe Photoshop is here!
Using a technique I learned in Dylan Mierzwinski’s Digitizing Hand Drawn Sketches class, I transformed the black lines of my silly sketch into a layered Photoshop document. I rearranged the icons to make a better composition, leaving a few out. As you can see, the creepy cat eyes and SpongeBob didn’t make the cut. Aww, shucks.
I’m obsessed with a drippy watercolor brush right now, so I added color and character with it to each icon. I also used a giant brush to distress the entire piece just a bit. Yessssss.
Something was missing, though.
If you haven’t read the book, I won’t give anything away, but suffice it to say fire plays a big role in the narrative. I burned the edges to hint at the damage but without destroying the entire piece.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have already seem this version of the composition.
Later, I pushed the idea even further and added a worn paper look. So fun!
FREE Novel Art Print
Because I love free stuff – both giving and receiving – I knew I wanted this Eleanor Oliphant piece to be a gift to you. Yes, YOU.
After a string of weighty and somewhat awful books, Eleanor gave me rest. If you’re a reader, I highly encourage you to give Eleanor a go. I am not affiliated with the author or publisher nor was I compensated for making this print. It’s simply a fun and free gift for you.
If you’re not a reader, please feel free to just take this gift and enjoy the quirky playfulness of it.
Since I wanted the print to be clean and give the eye rest when framed, I removed the burned edges and added a clean line.
You can download the US Letter version here.
Find the A4 version here.
After you download the print, let me know in the comments where you hung your copy of Eleanor. At work? In your home office? Library? Kitchen?
I’m curious… what was YOUR favorite way to spend the hours of childhood? Are you a fellow bookworm like me? If so, I would love to know the last book you read and loved in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions!