Saturday, August 22, 2009

When 10-year-olds make children's books...

When I was around 10 years old, my youngest sister was still "my" little girl. I took care of her and she depended on me. She would have been around 4 years old then and still prone to running through the yard stark naked. Ah, the freedom of youth! Heh.

In any case, among the many things I did for my baby sister back then was telling her stories to get her to fall asleep. One day, instead of telling her a story, I made her a storybook. On lined notebook paper, using a cruddy black office pen, I doodled out a short children's story called "What Are Monsters Afraid Of?"

She kept it in her sock drawer, right beside her bed, and it got a lot of wear and tear over the years from readings and rereadings and the occasion in which someone would show it to someone else to say "look what Kate made when she was 10 for Chloe." The storybook, if you can call crumpled notebook paper held together with pieces of yarn that, even survived the family's relocation from Texas to Colorado when I was around 15 or so and then another couple years until...

When I was in high school, I'd say maybe 16 or 17, my rather dinky little art class was asked to make books for a project. I immediately thought of "What Are Monsters Afraid Of?" and went rummaging through boxes until I found it, curled up and smeared in spots from water damage. Rather than bring my more matured storytelling or design skills to the table and remake the story, I chose to simply copy the drawings and designs and wording that my 10-year-old self hadoriginally created. Only, instead of cruddy office pen on lined notebook paper with yarn for binding, this time it was drawn in Photoshop, printed, and bound neatly in a cheap little presentation booklet.

Sadly, I think much of the charm of the original was lost in this remake, but nevertheless thought I'd share what my 17-year-old self copied off of my 10-year-old self.

So without further ado, meet my monsters. I am especially fond of the coverpage monster, who in my head has always been "socked aardvark" even though he in no way resembles an aardvark. I cannot explain my own logic.

The monsters, in order of appearance, are called (in my head, at least)...
The Socked Aardvark
Ground-dwelling Batsnake
The Green Slimer
Flying Googleye...
...and the Bedcrabs, which in my mind travel in groups of three or five.

Also featured in this story is Superbear, a filler character I often used in the stories I told my baby sister. Superbear never really got his own story, poor little guy.

Also, when I was redrawing this, I had a brief encounter with Creepy Bouncy Sun, whose smile is unnerving and whom nobody trusts. I highly suspect that he may in fact be a pedophile. Naturally, you can see why CBSun was replaced with the pleasant sun who occupies the cover page instead.