K. Michael Crawford is the writer and illustrator of the unique The Mystery of Journeys Crowne, a book full of riddles and clues, part picture storybook, part game and treasure hunt, calling on a young reader’s own drawings to solve the mystery. The adventure is fun, the riddles intriguing, and the illustrations are a visual treat.
Here is K. Michael Crawford to tell you all about his book and about his writing and artistic process.
"Around three years ago, I decided I wanted to create a first-of-its-kind book. I had no idea at the time what the book should be, but I knew it had to get kids to use their imaginations and teach them how to figure things out on their own. After I let the idea brew in my head for a few months, it hit me: I would create a book with everything that I liked; mysteries, magic, creativity, drawing, adventures and silliness. I am just a big kid at heart. After that, the book took shape and everything fell into place. It was very magical.
"It took me six months to layout all the drawings and another six months to create and write the clues. The clues were a huge undertaking, because I had to write them so they would work together and get the reader to the end of the book. Some clues had to help you solve other clues and make sense to the story. I knew I need a character for the background story, so I created Bazel Lark to help me with writing the clues and to complete the story, explaining why the reader was getting the adventure to solve in the first place.
"Once I had the spreads laid out and the clues written, then I started the paintings. I use a number of mediums in one painting so that I can achieve the effects I want for the finished painting. These paintings have Dr. Martin's Radiant Watercolor, Colored Pencils, Acrylics and Pastels. I still haven't figured out how to throw in the Kitchen Sink.
"From start to finish it took me two years to complete CThe Mystery of Journeys Crowne. It was a wonderful and challenging journey that I am repeating with the next book in Bazel Lark series called The Island of Zadu. Even though I kept a record of how I did The Mystery of Journeys Crowne, in order to keep the books consistent with each other, I soon realized each book in the series (there will be 5) has to have a life of it's own. Now I'm facing the challenge of getting everything to work in this new book as well as in The Mystery of Journeys Crowne."
You can visit Michael at his website, http://www.happilyeverart.com/ and see some of his other titles. The Mystery of Journeys Crowne can be purchased at www.happilyeverart.com/BazelLark.html .