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A Classic Color Conundrum—Creation in Black & White

A classic color conundum – creation in black and white as depicted in Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Eve and Adam – is forcing the color debate upon us. This particular Adapted Classics book raises the question whether the natural beauty of creation can be properly represented with black and white illustrations. 

No, said a panel of judges in a contest we entered for best illustrated book of 2018. You can’t expect a reader to use his or her mind’s eye to add color to pen and ink illustrations of creation scenes, even if they are described in colorful prose by Mr. Mark Twain. They thought anybody, especially a book publisher, would know that.

Point well-taken and insult endured, even though Mr. Mark Twain himself must not have known that he shouldn’t have expected as much from readers. Eve’s Diary, published in 1906, contained nothing but pen and ink illustrations alongside every page that carried his colorful prose. 

Maybe it’s a generational thing. Although we hate to concede the word-driven, color-projection function of modern minds-eye imaginations have atrophied to the point where we must pay the painter, maybe that’s just the way it is. Weeze were born too late.

So we are debating whether to publish a color version of Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Eve And Adam. But how do we to go about doing that if we do decide to give it a go? Perhaps a contest, but we are utterly ill-equipped to manage one of those. And we have no revenue stream from which to draw the extra money it would take to print in color. Classic conundrums, in color. We’ll have to figure it out.

Color cover - The Diaries of Eve and Adam
Projected Color Cover – The Diaries of Eve and Adam

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