Silent Letters is a short poem by Adam Rogers. It will be published as a full-colour illustrated minibook in summer 2010.

This “making of” blog is presented chronologically on a single page, oldest-post-first. It’s also available as an RSS Feed. The newest entry was posted on January 6th, 2010.

The Poem

I have been saving
all the silent letters
from the words I speak
like “aught”
and “pseudonym”

when my life’s work is done
I will go to the top shelf and
retrieve the box
in which they are stored
and open it

and pronounce them
all at once

Obligatory Self-Effacement

Hello! Welcome to the Silent Letters blog, wherein I detail (in excruciating, um, detail) the process of turning a tiny 49-word poem into a tiny illustrated storybook.

I make no claims to being a great poet nor a great artist of any kind. I wrote the poem in about 20 minutes one afternoon, in a small moment of inspiration, presumably caused by having just rolled out of bed and having not yet had the opportunity to caffeinate myself into normalcy.

Still, I was quite pleased with the result, and received a glowing review from my sister (and on whom can you rely for absolutely impartial feedback if not your immediate family?). Encouraged by this warm reception, I immediately made plans to expand the franchise.

While I’m waiting for Warner Bros. to return my calls regarding a movie option, I am pressing forth with a full-colour print edition, illustrated in the sophisticated modern style known in the art world as “collage” or “cut-out.”

I trust you’ll find this blog informative, or at least entertaining, or failing those, a guaranteed source of run-on sentences (my favourite kind), superfluous parentheticals (which I compulsively include), and frequent abuse of the comma.

Enjoy your stay.


Ariana Osborne’s P.O.D. Manifesto

Certain circles of the online community have been struck, in the latter months of 2009, with a delightful urge to throw procrastination aside and make things. This movement is perhaps best embodied in a single image by Matt Jones’ “Get Excited And Make Things” poster, but for a deeper look, Ariana Osborne’s blog has quickly become required reading.

Ms. Osborne recently did the design/layout/editing work for Warren Ellis’ print-on-demand book, Shivering Sands, and has written a great deal about the technical process of book design, the economics of P.O.D., and the theory behind creating a physical artefact versus going digital-only. This is incredibly useful and insightful material, and is made richer still by her passionate calls-to-action for all creative folk to unabashedly get excited and start making things.

The Silent Letters minibook (art previews will be forthcoming shortly, I promise!) is happening largely because I too have been infected with the ‘get excited’ virus, and Ms. Osborne’s manifesto (as I call it) has been a big contributor to that. Hence, for my own benefit (and yours too), I have collected the relevant blog posts into an ordered list for easy reference:

If we’re at all lucky, there will be many more posts to add to this list. I’ll update it periodically, as appropriate, but you should really just bookmark and read it daily.

W.I.P. Image #1

"Silent Letters" Page 1 Work-In-Progress Image Here’s a work-in-progress look at page 1 of the Silent Letters minibook. As noted previously, I’m going for a hand-decorated paper-cut-out sort of look, something like The Wolves In The Walls meets The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

There’s still some work to do — the colours need to be adjusted to better compliment each other and constrast with the background, a few more design elements have yet to be added, and the background itself will be tweaked significantly (or replaced outright). The final version will also have some subtle shading that’s missing here.

Overall I’m happy with the direction so far. The textures look quite nice at print resolution (they get a bit washed out in the web-size image), and my experiments with shadowing (not seen here) show promise in enhancing the paper-cut-out effect.

Coming up: details on the tools and techniques used to create the artwork. I also welcome any specific questions regarding the book, my methods, or related queries. Email silentletters (at) jargon (dot) ca, and I’ll do my best to respond here.

Silent Letters Is On Twitter

In lieu of a comments section on this blog, I’ve created a Twitter account where I can be reached in a more immediate form than email. Feel free to direct any questions/comments/obscure pop-culture references to @SiLett.

Silent Letters Is Syndicated

More housekeeping here.... I’ve just hacked together an RSS Feed for this blog, which you can drop into your feed-reader of choice, if that’s your thing.