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How Night Came, a Brazilian Folktale

As a children's book illustrator, Denise has many things to say about the process, her struggles, and children's books on the market today.

N is for How Night Came

N is for How Night Came

My Children’s Alphabet Book

If you have followed me, by now you may have noticed I created a children’s alphabet book using fairy tales for each letter of the alphabet. I could have concentrated on all the old favorites but I decided to make it a book with fairy tales and folk tales from all over the world. This particular story is a charming answer to the question “how did night first come.”

Global Fairytales

When it hit me to be more global I had already created the pages for R is for Little Red Riding Hood and J is for Jack and the Beanstalk. The research for the global fairy tales and folk tales from all over the world certainly added to my work but in the end, it became very satisfying. This story is a folktale from Brazil.

Value Sketch for the illustration

Value Sketch for the illustration

How Night Came, A Brazilian Folktale

At the very beginning, there was no night but day all the time. No one had ever heard of sunrise or sunset, starlight or moonbeams. There were no night birds, nor night beasts, nor night flowers. It was in those days the daughter of the great Sea King left her home in the deep seas and married one of the sons of the great King of the land. After a time her beauty faded and she grew weary of the bright sunlight. Her husband did not know what to do to help her.

"O, if night would only come," she moaned. "Here it is always day, but in my father's kingdom there are many shadows.” "What is night?" her husband asked. "Tell me about it and perhaps I can get a little of it for you." "Night is the name we give to the heavy shadows which darken my father's kingdom in the depths of the seas. I love the sunlight of your land, but I grow very weary of it.”

At once the land King called his three most faithful servants to go on the journey. "You are to go to the great Sea King who dwells in the depths of the seas and ask him to give you some of the darkness of night that his daughter may not die here amid the sunlight of our earth land."

After a long dangerous journey, the three servants arrived at the depths of the seas and presented the request. The great Sea King gave them a big bag full of night at once. It was securely fastened and the great Sea King warned them not to open it until they were in the presence of his daughter.

The three servants started out, bearing the big bag full of night upon their heads. It had not been long before they heard the voices of all the night beasts, birds, and insects in the bag. The three servants had never heard sounds like those in all their lives. They were terribly frightened.

They were wondering what to do when the third servant opened the bag to see what was inside. Out rushed all the night beasts, birds, and insects, and out rushed the great black cloud of night. More frightened than ever at the darkness, they escaped to the jungle.

The daughter of the great Sea King was waiting anxiously for the return of the servants with the bag full of night. She was standing under a royal palm tree when the bag was opened and night escaped. "Night comes. Night comes at last," she cried, as she saw the clouds of night upon the horizon. Then she closed her eyes and went to sleep. She felt greatly refreshed when she awoke. She was once more the happy princess who had left her father's kingdom in the depths of the great seas to come to the land. She was now ready to see the day again.

When it was daylight again the three servants crept home through the forests and jungles with their empty bag. Because of their disobedience, they were changed into monkeys and spent the rest of their days in the jungle. To this day in Brazil night leaps out quickly upon the earth just as it did on the day it was released from the bag.

Color Composition for the illustration

Color Composition for the illustration

Collage Illustrations

I didn’t want my book to be just one more “A is for Apple” alphabet book and since I love fairy tales, why not use them instead? After deciding that, I was told I should use my collage method instead of the usual watercolor illustrations that I had originally desired. The collage took much longer but in the end, it made for a very unique book.

I hope you enjoy my process here showing the start with thumbnail sketches, then value sketch, color composition and finally, the collage. I made a video of this one and you can see that I created the boys on a different sheet of paper from the bag of night. Later I put them together in Photoshop.

Finished collage

Finished collage

Published with Lulu

This fairy tale has been shortened to fit into my book along with all the other letters of the alphabet. If you would like to read the full version, you can Google the title and find the story of the How Night Came.

My book, The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from Around the World, was self-published last year with Lulu.com because Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing) refused to allow illustrations that spanned the central gutter of the page. They demanded at least a half-inch margin around the outside, which I could have done, and a half-inch margin through the center margin, which would destroy the look and cohesiveness of the double-page illustrations. I had to find a different publisher who would allow the illustrations the way I wanted them. KDP obviously does not understand illustrated children’s picture books.

Did You Notice

In my collages, I use paper from magazines, old wall calendars, catalogs, and circulars. Often I will add things into a collage you can't see unless you are looking for it.

Cartoon vs. Realism

Many think that a children's book should have less realism in the illustrations and more abstract cartoony pictures. What do you think? Are the more cartoony illustrations dumbing the children down or is it more fun? I think they are supposed to be more fun but the reality is many of the cartoony illustrations I have seen today are crossing the line into dumb and insulting the children's intelligence. Do you disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Final Thoughts

I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Comments

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 08, 2020:

Thanks for answering my question. It is good to know that rubber cement does not warp or buckle the paper used in your fantastic collages.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 07, 2020:

Peggy Woods,

I use rubber cement so the paper doesn't warp or buckle. I have played with the idea of sealing the finished picture with Mod Podge but haven't done that yet. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 07, 2020:

I think that your collages add so much to the story! You are an extremely talented artist. Thanks for sharing another fairy tale with us! What type of glue do you use for your collages?

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 08, 2020:

William Kovacic,

I'm glad you like the idea of the book. It made me happy. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on March 08, 2020:

I like the idea behind your book, Denise. I enjoy the stories, as well as the art. You've done a masterful job with this.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 07, 2020:

Eiddwen,

I'm so glad you enjoyed this. If you have any fairy tales from Wales you'd like to share, I'd be happy to read them. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Eiddwen from Wales on March 07, 2020:

I thoroughly enjoyed this hub and thank you for sharing. I now look forward to many more by you.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 06, 2020:

Marie Flint,

I'm so glad you agree with me about the cartoony illustrations vs realistic ones. Since this is the book that is already published, it is easy to move right along. I worked for 3 years to get all these illustrations done. I hope the next one won't take that long. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 06, 2020:

MG Singh,

I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 06, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

They are interesting, aren't they? I was fascinated too when I read this one. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on March 06, 2020:

You are moving right along on this alphabet series.

We have the expression, "The cat's out of the bag." Now, knowing this story, I can say, "The night's out of the bag!" Then I'll have to explain what I said because very few people know this story, so I'll have to tell it.

You're doing such great work--and, yes, children should have realistic-looking pictures over stick figures and cartoony ones.

Thank you for your talent and creativity!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on March 06, 2020:

Very nice story. I love such tales

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 05, 2020:

This is another interesting story. I think I'll be thinking about how night comes for several days! I'm enjoying learning about folk and fairy tails from other countries very much.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 05, 2020:

DreamerMeg,

Well, I am so glad you noticed that! It was one of the key things in my mind to make the heroes of the stories children and not adults. Of course, the story assumes they are adult but I didn't want to picture that. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 05, 2020:

Bill Holland,

I finally finished your book a couple of nights ago (I read for pleasure at night before bed, which means I was going to bed with you for a while....). I feel like I was privileged to receive a philosophy lesson on life, love, and friendships as well as a memoir. Thanks for considering my book. It is a huge honor.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 05, 2020:

Devika Primić,

I'm so happy you like my work. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 05, 2020:

Lorna Lamon,

Thanks. I'm happy you think so. I am a rebel, I guess. I went against what the "professionals" were telling me at the art school, but I just didn't agree. I think children are more sophisticated than we give them credit for. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 05, 2020:

Umesh Chandra Bhatt,

I'm so glad you like the story. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 05, 2020:

Eric Dierker,

I used a photo reference of a Brazilian boy playing futball that I found on a free photo site. He may be related to your friend P. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 05, 2020:

Ivana Divac,

I'm so glad you like this one. I enjoyed it too. Brazil at night must be a scary and noisy place. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on March 05, 2020:

I am really enjoying your global fairy tales and also the illustrations for them. It's great to see children as the actors in these stories rather than adults.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 05, 2020:

I promise I will purchase your book soon for our grandkids. I don't purchase books often from HP writers, but your book is special.

Blessings always

bill

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 05, 2020:

Denise this is amazing! Your talent shines through your perfect illustrations.

Lorna Lamon on March 05, 2020:

I loved this tale Denise and the way you capture expressions is amazing. Your illustrations compliment the story and I don't believe cartoon illustrations would give it the same depth of meaning.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on March 04, 2020:

Very interesting story. Well presented. Good work. All the best.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 04, 2020:

This is really well done. What art you have in your person.

But I was adrift. We called him "P". Older and bolder. In a big bar we fought American football versus Futball Brazillian. "P" paid the broken furniture bill and I bought the beer. This boy reminded me of him.

Ivana Divac from Serbia on March 04, 2020:

Captivating story! Thank you for this article, it's very informative and interesting.