What We Do For Love

We’ve had extra time on our hands, thanks to the covid-19 situation, so we decided to do something different, for our youngest grandchild, Adam. We wanted to develop a story with him as the star. We’d conjured up goofy tales for our son and daughter when they were growing up, and they seemed to get a kick out of it. But this time we wanted to make it more formal, a story in book form, loaded with photos.

I’ve been designing book covers for some time, and I decided to use those skills to feature little Adam alongside his favorite hero, Kai, a character from Lego’s Ninjago series of animation and toys. These critters are built from little plastic blocks and an endless array of multi-colored connecting bits and doo-daddery.

We enlisted our daughter’s help, and she supplied us with photos of Adam in various poses: running, jumping, punching, etc. We feasted on these–digitally–to make up the images for the book. The cover is shown here, but please don’t tell Adam. He doesn’t know anything about it, yet. (Oh, and Adam’s the one on the left!)

Now, before anyone gets the wrong impression, please know that Adam is really a sweet little guy, this photo notwithstanding!

Anyway, the project required that we make up a story to go along with 20 pages of illustrations. We used Shutterfly for the text and enlarged most of the doctored images as full-page backgrounds. That made it easy to overlay the text.

I won’t say the whole process is easy. Creating the cover image required us to find just the right photo and digitally remove our young hero for transplant into an illustration we borrowed from the internet. The original is shown here.

We used Paint.NET for the digital dissections and overlays. It’s a fabulous tool for editing photos and designing layered graphics. It’s available for free, but donating for its continued support and expansion is heartily endorsed. I use the software a lot and make annual contributions.

For the book itself, we used Shutterfly.com since we were already familiar with it and have put together books about various vacation trips and events our other grandkids have been involved in.

We’ll only print two copies of Adam’s book–one for him and one for us–we doubt the good folks at Lego Inc. will sue us. That’s our hope, anyway. We certainly won’t be trying to sell any images we snagged from the internet as our own.

Here’s a parting shot of our young stalwart with the background removed, all ready to go into the saga. We’re not sure how his prom date will react in another ten years or so, but if we’re still around, we’ll let you know!

Stay well!

About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
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20 Responses to What We Do For Love

  1. Betty Smith says:

    How precious.

  2. John LANGSTON says:

    Great idea Josh. Looking forward to seeing it.

    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

  3. Susanne says:

    You are undoubtedly the best and most loved Grandpa.

  4. Karen Boyce says:

    Love this idea! I want to make a similar book for Atlas. Could use your help!

  5. Sonya says:

    I love it! What a sweet thing, Josh. He’s one lucky boy to have you as a grandpa!

  6. Amanda Rillema says:

    Adam is gonna love it!!

  7. Alice Carnahan says:

    What a cool idea! Alice

  8. Dorothy Heinlen says:

    I loved! your cover.

  9. Barry & Anita D Womack says:

    What a fantastic idea! I think Adam is a lucky young man.

  10. Don says:

    Josh,it’s a great idea. Something he will treasure forever. Just like vacation books

  11. Gail McKoy says:

    This is just such a clever idea! I know this is something he will treasure. And right now, he gets to be the Lego hero! I actually think his future prom date will be impressed, as well. How cool that he has such a creative grandpa!

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