A quick update on the project: most of my time has been devoted to trying out concepts for the illustrations. There are so many styles that I would like to try but I need the right fit for the work. Some of the sources do have illustrations, but I don’t want to imitate their style, however pleasing.
So far I have only worked on monochrome concepts and the ol’ pen and ink seems to be the most favoured so far.
My test piece is a series of fox sketches. The project is going to be a collection of Palestinian animal tales and fables, of which there are a few starring Fox.
One of the problems with illustrating this book is how to render the people. Most of my sources are from the Ottoman era of Palestine, with only a few post-Nakba works which delve into lore at refugee camps. Fairy tales are usually in a timeless neverland but should I really freeze Palestinians in the 1800s? It’s something I still haven’t committed to. In the concept above, the man’s clothing is based on the half-urban, half-peasant wear common among the men in my father’s village circa the 1930s.
In other news, and this is quite exciting news too: I have sent in my first short story for consideration for publication in Little Book of Fairy Tales by Dancing Bear Books in the UK! The story is called ‘Adib and the Witches of Ashkalon,’ based on a short anecdote I found while researching Palestinian folktales. You can support the publication of Little Book of Fairy Tales by donating here to their Indiegogo campaign! Dancing Bear Books is a much needed small press devoted to uplifting the voices of emerging writers, especially from marginalized backgrounds.