The Rules of Magic

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Chapter 12: Nina Thinks Outside the Box

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Well…THIS isn’t very interesting.

Don’t be shocked, but as usual the contest – and really, it isn’t a contest, I’m just here to sketch – between Nina and I isn’t even close.

Chapter 12, The Wakening, was a tricky one to illustrate. The entire thing takes place inside of a box! What to do? Darkness, with slivers of light? Hmm…Better make it about Elizabeth’s thoughts, then:

HT-028 Factory Cafeteriab blog

While “thought bubbles” might be okay for MY chicken scratches, how the heck would you do them in a real drawing without looking silly? “La-la-la!” I thought to myself as I shut my eyes and forwarded my sketch to Nina. I knew she would come up with a way!

She did! Here’s Nina’s thoughtful take:



Also, besides Elizabeth, Nina took the extra step – on her own, I didn’t even know that she’d seen these dolls – of adding previous friends that I’d done to the party at the cafeteria table. Recognize them?


It’s the little things like that. This is why WE LOVE NINA.

Then there was the next illustration. Sometimes an illustration can help move the story along, and this one especially fits that category. “The Rules of Magic,” as I call them: Once you outgrow your childhood, there is no regaining it, the magic is gone. Dolls will no longer come alive for you. So while Mrs. Hopkins, who was Elizabeth’s first little human so many years ago, still dearly loved Elizabeth, she could no longer see Elizabeth alive. She could only see the physical doll herself. How to get that idea across?

My attempt:

HT-029 Elizabeth's Abby blog

And Nina’s, now in color:



From the first book, and now from Chapter 10, Present Past. That’s old Abby in the chair.

1AbbeybdSince the styles between the first book and the second are quite different, and we’d used an illustration from the first book, “Ruth’s birthday party” where she first received Elizabeth from the now grown Abby, bridging the two styles took a little maneuvering.

Nina did a bang up job, but for the final book in print we might redo the birthday party illustration, since the tone of that particular “scene” as I tend to call chapters, has changed a little. Heaven knows, Nina’s up to the task.

That’s it! That’s all for Chapter 12. And now! Back to the sewing room for me!

I hope you have an excellent weekend beyond your wildest dreams!

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