Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Learning How to Put Illustrations Into The Pages Of My Book Of Poems, Using Word.

For my book of poems, Beyond These Dark Lands Are Edges Of Joy, I drew about 100 individual illustrations, one for each poem. I had no idea what I was getting into!

I wanted the illustrations to fill the page and be behind the poems. At first, I thought I would use Word and open the shape feature on the insert tab in the toolbar, then use "fill" to insert the picture behind the text. That worked ok but since the illustrations were ink drawings and therefore black the words got too hard to read and the picture had what looked like a lot of black smudges making a rough rectangle where the poem was. I tried to add a layer with another shape to block out or fade the illustration just behind the words but lost too much of the image.

I next tried to open a shape and place it somewhere on the page to the right of the poem, since most of my poems are like a column there was room on most pages. The image on some pages looked ok but on many, they lost effect or some area of the picture that was important was too small to appreciate.

So as I did each page I went back into my picture files and used photo gallery to crop, (after making copies of the original) so the smaller picture would still be effective. Each picture fit nicely on the page though some were disappointingly small. I liked how it was not a poem in a picture but a picture illustrating a poem.

The insert shape feature on my toolbar offers many shapes and I thought it would be nice if some were round, others square and a few rectangle. I did not like how inconsistent it looked like someone couldn't make up their mind and it seemed amateurish. So I redid each page with the illustrations as a circle. Again, I lost some of the edges of some images and had to return to cropping, and since my illustrations were originally a rectangle to insert them into a circle caused Word to distort the image. I went back to every image and cropped again into a square so the picture would not be distorted when I inserted it.

It was starting to look good.

I was afraid that the outside edge of some of the drawings would get lost because they went beyond the page margin. I was not happy with guessing where the margins were on each page even though I set the margins. There is a "View" feature on the toolbar and I found one of the pulldowns was a grid. I used the grid and found it lined up with the margins. Using this grid I could place the images within the margins of the page. The grid took away the guesswork. The grid helped me to make sure each image was the same distance from the poem, the page bottom, and the outer margin, so there was consistency.

It was a lot of work and took about 60 hours of my time over two weeks, but after spending three months drawing the pictures I was not going to quit.

As I review I know there may be a little tweaking here and there but I feel the book is becoming a product I will be proud of.

If you would like to read a sample poem choose the link below for the website.

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(c) Adron 2/7/18

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