Page 11 - the blue butterfly will come to play a larger role in our drama, as it unfolds in the ensuing weeks

Page 11 – were too small to fly

by Kelley Smoot Garrett, Austin, Texas

With the page, Letitia introduces the first hint of tension into Princess April’s world. And we also get our first glimpse of Princess April’s story framed as the archetypal pattern dubbed the monomyth by scholar Joseph Campbell in his ground-breaking work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Continue reading

March 11, 2013 – Page 11: were too small to fly

by Letitia Fairbanks, Hollywood, California

...were too small to fly and try as hard as she would, she could not saor up into the sky like the grown-up fairies

…were too small to fly and try as hard as she would, she could not saor up into the sky like the grown-up fairies.

As a teacher though, my favorites are the book and arithmetic slate.

Page 10 – And then Princess April would skip off to Fairy School (A&I perspective)

by Danny Garrett, Austin, Texas

This is a typical ‘body’ page in the narrative. When I was cleaning up the ink bleed-through on Letitia’s pages, these were the easiest of all to fix. Continue reading

The depiction of the insects further the story in subtle ways

Page 10 – And then Princess April would skip off to Fairy School

by Kelley Smoot Garrett, Albuquerque, New Mexico

I just love the way this page begins to show the depth behind Letitia’s choice of words to illuminate. Continue reading

March 4, 2013 – Page 10: Then Princess April would skip off to Fairy School

by Letitia Fairbanks, Hollywood, California

Then Princess April would skip off to Fairy School

Page 10 – Then Princess April would skip off to Fairy School

Princess April Morning-Glory, 1941 by Letitia Fairbanks as depicted in photo by Audrey Fairbanks, 2013 (photo copyright 2013 Patrick Fallon)

Page 9 – little fairy girl

by Kelley Smoot Garrett, Hollywood, California

By the time the reader has finished this third page of text and embellishment, the table has been laid for the feast that is to come: we know our protagonist and heroine, Princess April Morning-Glory’s birth and her upbringing – all important establishing characteristics that must be illuminated, as it were, to set the unfolding story in its proper context. Continue reading

Where the image bleeds through from the reverse onto text, the text equally bleeds through, permeating the image with dark lettering

Page 8 – he touched the fairy baby with his magic wand (A&I perspective)

By Danny Garrett, Hollywood, California

This page is typical of the problems I had to work through as I refined Letitia’s art in preparation to publish. Here you can see that the page is filled with ink text and watercolor illustrations, with ample neutral field for both to be displayed upon.

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The word - laughter - with a court jester laughing as the illumination

Page 8 – he touched the fairy baby with his magic wand

By Kelley Smoot Garrett, Hollywood, California

This second page completes the stage-setting that began with the first page, and Letitia illustrating what will become the main motif for Princess April Morning-Glory’s name. Continue reading

Enchanted Forest

Page 7 – Once Upon A Time (the A&I’s perspective)

By Danny Garrett, Hollywood, California

And so the story begins. Much illumination on the page, starting with the illuminated initial, the “O” in “Once upon a time…” The term itself is derived from the Latin initialis, or standing at the beginning. When, as in this case, the initial is nested in an ornate space, and with images inside them, they are known as historiated initials. This is exactly what we have here with butterflies, plants – including a grinning countenance, and a custom border. Continue reading

Once Upon a Time

Page 7 – Once Upon A Time…

By Kelley Smoot Garrett, Albuquerque, New Mexico

It’s the classic beginning to all fairy tales.

Using hand-lettering, much as monks would have done prior to Gutenberg’s revolutionary, moveable, typesets, Letitia similarly illustrated Princess April Morning-Glory. The principal technique she employed through-out her work, is that of illumination. It’s an ancient technique in manuscript transcription that Wikipedia describes as: Continue reading

Plate II: Page 6 – Frontispiece: The Finding of the Baby Princess (Artists’ and Illustrators’)

By Danny Garrett, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Bordered by the fine red line that frames not only the plates, but the narrative pages themselves, the first plate reveals itself. Here we see the Fairy Queen discovering the baby Princess April within a vibrant pink tulip. The dandelion, butterfly and ant immediately provide scale for the scene, with another tulip and various plants rounding out the scene. Everything is alive here. Continue reading

Plate I: Title Page – Artists’ and Illustrators’ perspective

By Danny Garrett, Austin, Texas

The first page of “Princess April Morning-Glory” is a proper title page, listing the title of the book and its author, Letitia Fairbanks. This page constitutes the formal opening of the book. Simple and direct, we are invited to explore the book and are introduced to the author’s inspiration for writing it. Continue reading

Plate I: Title page: How did Letitia come to choose the name “Princess April Morning-Glory”?

By Kelley Smoot Garrett, Austin, Texas

How did Letitia come to choose the name “Princess April Morning-Glory”?

This is a two-part answer, partially based on stories Letitia told me, and equally based on explorations (aided by my husband, Danny Garrett, and with very capable research assistance from Roanna Gillespie of WOW Sounds) into movies and films of the day, coupled with correspondence from the 1940s between

1933 movie Morning Glory staring Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Katharine Hepburn

One-sheet from the 1933 movie, “Morning Glory,” starring Katharine Hepburn and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. From left to right, Adolphe Menjou, Katharine Hepburn, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Letitia, her father, Robert Fairbanks, and various potential publishers of “Princess April Morning-Glory.”

The first half of the answer is that the name “April” came from Letitia’s cocker spaniel that she had from approximately 1932 to April’s passing in about early 1945. Letitia always adored her pets, and always had at least one dog, sometimes more, all through-out her life. April was her first pet, as an adult, and was very near and dear to her heart, and she would tell me stories of how April went everywhere with her, always riding shotgun in the car. Favorite spots for April to romp included sojourns in the mountains above Provo, Utah, where Letitia would go for picnics with her cousins, aunts & uncles, and grandparents, where she lived after painting “Princess April Morning-Glory,” attending Brigham Young University and studying biology. We’ll be seeing more of April – the cocker spaniel – as our story unfolds during the coming year.

The second half of the answer comes from a movie her cousin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., starred in, opposite the debuting Katharine Hepburn, in 1933’s “Morning-Glory.” The role launched Hepburn’s career, propelling her to win her first of ultimately four Oscars received during her life – all four wins as Best Actress. Her first Oscar for “Morning Glory” would have been just given six short years after Douglas Jr.’s father, Douglas Fairbanks, and his wife, Mary Pickford, along with a coterie of Hollywood figures, had established the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Like Letitia’s favorite April, her cousin Douglas Fairbanks Jr., plays an important role later in our story.  That both “inspirations” – her beloved cousin, and her equally beloved cocker spaniel — are built into the very name of our story, underlines their significance in Letitia’s life.

And I guess it doesn’t need an explanation as to how the monarchical honorific “Princess” came to be applied to the title character of Letitia’s book. After all, she was a Fairbanks, living in Hollywood, in the 1930s… 🙂

The Challenge of the Project

By Danny Garrett, Austin, Texas

Although I am mainly an artist/illustrator that creates original art for both fine and commercial art arenas, by virtue of being a freelance operator for many decades I have also developed production art skills as well. And while I’ve worked on many projects that involved traditional approaches to render art fit for printing, I have never faced challenges like those I encountered in preparing for print media the original artwork for Princess April Morning-Glory. Continue reading

My life with Letitia Fairbanks Smoot

By Kelley Smoot Garrett, Austin, Texas

Hi, My name is Kelley Smoot Garrett and I was Letitia Fairbanks’ stepdaughter.

My father, Harold (“Hal”) Nibley Smoot, first met Letitia in about 1938 in his hometown of Salt Lake City (about 18 months prior to beginning work on Princess April Morning-Glory.) During a visit to his grandparents’, along with his older brother and sister, fate played a hand in having my father be the stand-in for his sick brother, resulting in his escorting Letitia to a ball.

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