Once upon a time there lived a kind grandmother who could weave stories from the air just as skillfully as she could combine colorful threads to sew award-winning cross-stitch masterpieces. This lady had two grown-up daughters, one of which bore five beautiful girls. When the second granddaughter turned five, the grandmother began to tell her a story where the child meets her very own fairy. Thus began a tale that would see all five girls meeting their own mythical guardians and taking on adventures beyond their dreams.
After four years, the time came when the grandmother had to go on a quest of her own. She must find someone with the power to bring these fairies to life. This is her tale…
Much like celebrated author Lewis Carroll who spun a tale about a bored girl called Alice and her adventures in Wonderland to the delight of three girls and millions more in the generations to come, Grandma Megan Dargan has a captive audience in her five granddaughters.
The fairy tales started in 2009 when Grandma Megan gave “Robyn’s Special Day” as a birthday present to the second eldest granddaughter, Robyn. Since then, the tales have spanned 16 chapters (with the 17th targeted to be the final chapter). Over the past 4½ years she has sporadically written the stories—often going months in-between each one—when last Christmas her daughter suggested they bind the stories into a book.
“To be quite honest, I don’t know how much appeal this book would have for people who are not directly connected to the Cazier family,” reveals this sexagenarian microbiologist at Quest Diagnostics Reference Laboratories, “but I could see where this would be a priceless gift for the girls. Every time I visit (which isn’t as often as I’d like as it’s a 16-hour drive there), almost the first thing they ask is if I have a new fairy story for them.”
So one day in January this year, almost on a whim, she sat down in front of a computer and Googled illustrators. That was when Freelancer.com, the world’s largest outsourcing platform, popped up. Even though she was not completely sure whether to pursue the book format or not, she went ahead and posted her project.
“I was amazed at the response!” she beams. “There must have been over 40 artists who put in bids on my project. I spent a couple of days going through their portfolios to find a style I liked. I was immediately attracted to sensusgin because his pictures looked a lot like the Japanese animation my family is so fond of.”
Sensusgin’s bid was reasonable, at US$111 for five pictures. This was doubled to accommodate 10 black & white sketches. “Since I didn’t have a very firm picture in my mind of what he should draw, I told him to read the chapters and come up with what he thought was best.”
During the contract, Grandma Megan decided she wanted a picture of each fairy aside from the pictures for the chapters. “Knowing that this was for children, sensusgin decided the fairy pictures should be in color,” she says. “From the start I was enchanted by his drawings. Not only did he capture the essence of each chapter, but he managed to put a touch of humor into them as well. Many of his pictures have taken a lot longer to draw than the price warrants—and he is a bit of a perfectionist.”
She is referring to his initial drawing of Robyn’s fairy. After having read several chapters, the Lithuanian illustrator realized that the fairy should have a different look. He redrew her without extra charge. When told that the girls would love to color some of the black & white sketches, he sent outlines of the fairies for her to print out and the children could color them whatever they wanted—just for their amusement.
When the contract ended, she rehired him on an hourly basis. “Our correspondence has been delightful,” she shares. “He is going to do a book cover as well, showing all five fairies. When I mentioned the next story would have satyrs in it, he got very enthusiastic and said it would be great fun to draw one of them.” She adds that he initially declined the offer to receive a copy of the book due to the expensive shipping rate, but has now changed his mind. “I think he’s enjoying this as much as I am!”
Grandma Megan is currently in contact with a publisher. When the book is finally printed, the publisher will make it available on-demand through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc. She is hoping for a Christmas 2014 publication date so she can give each girl her own copy as a present. “Everybody who have seen the pictures have been extremely complimentary, and I think I have been very lucky in finding sensusgin to do my art work for me—which I couldn’t have done without Freelancer.com.”