Why I used illustrations in my poetry book -Hidden Scars

Dorset and Author Aliker display illustration of the Poem-Lean on Me

In 2020, I had a stint as a Director, at Artisan Global, Uganda Chapter. While at my work, I was introduced to highly talented young artists whose skills require an international platform.

Dorset Openy-rwot is one such artist whose skills pays his tuition at Gulu University. One day, we woke up to the online news of the birthday of a team member but we were short on finances but wanted to do something special for her contribution to the team.

It was getting late and we had failed to come up with an idea except for singing the Happy Birthday song and getting along with our normal schedules until Dorset left us and showed up 15mins later from his office with a Michelangelo like pencil drawing of a portrait picture of the staff member inscribed Happy Birthday at the bottom.

It was smashing beautiful and the kind that made a lady feel super important and valued at her workplace.

It’s then that I learnt of the analytical and interpretive power of art in expressing feelings. Dorset, who also founded Dorset Creative Art inspired an idea that today we share with you as a reality.

How can such young artists be mentored to share their works on an international publishing platform?

Artisan Global, Uganda is blessed with such artists whose skills are rarely noticed or valued and paid for in their community.

As I got done with my manuscript, I wanted to offer one such artist Dorset an international publishing platform to showcase his skills.

We reached an agreement, to illustrate all my poems that will be published by Xlibris, in New York, USA and distributed by Barnes and Nobles, Xlibris Publishers and Amazon.

But why did I prefer illustrations that would increase the pages and the cost of producing my book?

Illustrations are excellent tools for analytical and interpretive skills. Many times, we write poems that are difficult to understand because of its hidden meanings. Poets want to make readers to make their own meaning from their writings.

While I have left my readers with enough space to make personal meaning and imagination in my poems, I write about real personal experiences and that of people I have encountered as close friends, associates and acquaintances in my poems. I surely want my work to be user friendly for readers to easily make meaning from my work.

I write poems to express myself, therefore if readers can not make meaning from it, then it becomes unhelpful. It fails the purpose of my writing. I write to inform, to share and to transform lives.

I write to make a difference in people’s lives hence, my writings must be understood. I write to represent a section of people whose voices are never heard to give them a voice.

This is why, I chose to illustrate my poems.

Secondly, I chose to illustrate my poems to enhance enjoyment. In the Poems, Lean on Me and Bell Beer, and Jameson; the illustrations brings out the passion and entertainment one feels as they read the poems.

Even when I address myself to sad poems like The End of Love, Malaya and Let Go. These are sad poems but yet written in a very entertaining style like hard jokes that teach you the hard way but still entertains you.

So, the illustrations are to enable you get entertained from its visual impressions.

Finally, as mentioned above, as a mentor to Dorset, I wanted to point to him a direction that his work could take with hard work and a competing spirit.

As I got published, so did Dorset. Dorset becomes the youngest and one of the few talented artists in my community to get his works published on an international platform.

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4 thoughts on “Why I used illustrations in my poetry book -Hidden Scars”

  1. What you did with Dorset was amazing. You’ve given him a platform that will take him to places but wherever he will go, you will always be in the picture because ‘we rise by lifting others.’ Keep up with the great work. I look forward to reading more stories

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