Why was The Repository of Neglected Things written, illustrated and published?
The idea of this published project began grudgingly.
First, some background. Old sketchbooks, from decades ago, resurfaced when I cleaned the garage a year or so ago.
“What am I going to do with these?” I asked my wife.
“Save them,” she answered.
The cleaning plan was to throw away or sell garage items. Throwing away these large sketchbooks was not an option. And neither was selling them. The black cloth cover hardback sketchbooks varied in sizes. Most of them were nine inches wide by 12 inches high with 96 to 110 pages. Some were smaller. The smallest was four inches wide by six inches high. The largest was 11 inches wide by 14 inches high.
A navy blue cloth cover hardback sketchbook made its way from the garage to my desk. It measured six inches wide by nine inches high. The little blue book was half full of sketches. Or half empty. As many as 40 blank pages. My wife encouraged me to fill the blue cloth sketchbook with drawings. My children asked me to make more drawings. One of the children requested I storyboard a comic book. Or picture book. Reluctant, I began a few pencil drawings. My wife bought me some brush markers. I added more sketches. Once the blue sketchbook was filled with drawings, I reviewed it. Should I return it to the garage with the other black sketchbooks?
Summer faded to Autumn. A plan formed around the recently filled blue sketchbook. A mission to show my children that they can write and illustrate their own stories, their own books. The goal. Showcase their work in a print publication. A comic book. With creativity and energy they pulled their stories together. They learned about the process of creating a story, illustrating, organizing pages and layout, and basic pre-press tasks. The stories from the children featured one about cats baking muffins and another of a mouse warrior. My contribution to the anthology was selected drawings from the blue sketchbook. The art inside spanned twenty years. A single narrative titled “The Little Blue Sketchbook” tied the drawings together.
Finally, the publication The Repository of Neglected Things arrived. The children celebrated by flipping through the pages. They paused to examine their contributions. They read selections to each other. And then collected copies to send to friends and family. One child asked, “So, when do we publish the next edition?”