WHATEVER you do, don’t stop reading Meg McKinlay’s new picture book halfway through.
The Hamilton Hill author artfully manipulates the language in her new offering Drawn Onward, turning an initially sad and despondent tale into one of hope and love by flipping the exact same words on their head.
McKinlay said the book was written in the style of a palindrome that moved from a glass half empty perspective to one that was more optimistic.
“Drawn Onward is unlike any of my other books in that it’s concept-based rather than being a conventional narrative,” she said.
“While most of my work aims on some level to inspire the reader to reflect on certain ideas, these are usually embedded within the broader framework of a story.
“While Drawn Onward does involve a story, that aspect of the book is carried almost entirely by the illustrations, with the text acting conceptually.
“My hope is that readers will find the book thought-provoking, perhaps even gently challenging, and ultimately uplifting.”
McKinlay enlisted the help of Andrew Frazer to help transform her words onto the page, the illustrator working exclusively in dark shades at the start of the book which then gradually become brighter shades of greens and yellows as the pages are turned.
Frazer said he hand drew all of the illustrations before digitally colouring them in Photoshop.
“The character illustrations and hand lettering both have a soft illustrative aesthetic,” he said.
“I though having a main character would help the reader connect with some of the more difficult emotions that could arise through especially the first half of the book, and the hand lettering is to hopefully encourage the reader to slow and really chew on the words.
“I thought it would be great to celebrate Meg’s beautifully crafted words by making them art in and of themselves.”
Drawn Onwards is available from www.fremantlepress.com.au.