Behind the Pages- a peek at how a book came to be (this one was by me).
This is the book that started it all for me. It started my journey as a Catholic author and illustrator, and I could not be more grateful to God for the way things worked out.
The Light of Heaven Saints Coloring Book started out simply as a coloring book that featured the saints. I began the project in 2017, as I recall. It went through a few drafts and a few Catholic publisher submissions; the last publisher I contacted about it wrote back and asked if they could see more. This was the large Catholic publisher, Our Sunday Visitor. After a few rounds through various departments, they told me they’d like to publish it! There’s a little more to the acceptance story after that, but I’ll save it for next week.
There are 22 saints in the coloring book; they were chosen by myself and my friends. I had asked a few of them to name some of their favorite saints; I added in my own favorites, and the book was begun! When I first submitted the book, I sent a pdf of what they call a “dummy book” in the publishing business. A few of the pages, including the cover, were fully finished. The rest were all pencil sketches. By the time the contract was finished and signed, I had some 6.5 months to finish the book. But I sure had a lot of drawing to do turning those sketches into finished art! I was quite grateful that I’d invested in an iPad Pro & the Procreate App the year before- they were invaluable in helping me to draw crisp clean lines (that were super easy to erase and change!).
I love symbolism, so each saint is holding something in their hands that relates to some part of their lives. It might be an obvious symbol, like a cross, or keys for St. Peter, but some have a bit more going on. For instance, St. Mary Magdalene holds an ointment jar- which is a common enough symbol for her. But the shape of it I took from a Jewish artifact found in the region of Magdala, dating to biblical times. And St. Thomas More is holding the seal of his office as Lord Chancellor of England, under King Henry the 8th. If you look closely, he is actually dropping it, as he resigned in disagreement with King Henry’s taking over the Church in England. Just a bit of trivia for you!
One last fun fact- the original title of the book was Coloring Cherished Saints. Here was the cover concept:
My goal in Light of Heaven was to produce a saint coloring book that could be enjoyed by people of many ages. There are some intricate areas of design, yet not too many to be daunting to younger artists! OSV printed the book on a thicker weight paper, on which only one side was printed. I was glad that they wanted to take this extra step to make a nicer book with less chance of a marker bleeding through.
With All Saints Day coming up, now is an excellent time to snag your little ones (or yourself!) a copy of Light of Heaven. I’ve been told that they also make great Christmas gifts… wink, wink!
More “Behind the Pages” to come next week! Can you guess the book?
Author & Illustrator: Adalee Hude, Artwork © 2019
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor