My First Book – Week 2

This Week’s Target

‘My target will be to sketch out a substantial amount of final page designs and to test out and choose a rendering style.’

I focused on trying to finalise the style I will be Illustrating my books with this week, but I found I wasn’t happy with anything that I tried.

My original plan was as follows –

  • Sketch out the final images in pencil.
  • Ink the images using a gel or ink pen, then erase the pencil line.
  • Possibly hand paint the images.
  • Scan the images, then either paint the final colours using Photoshop, or if already painted then use Photoshop to improve the final result.

The problem was however, I couldn’t get the inked line-work right. I tried a few different styles using a number of different pens but just wasn’t happy with any of the results. Although I’ve used this method previously, it just didn’t work with the art style I imagined for my books.

The Workspace

I browsed online for some inspiration and then after much debate, I decided to use Photoshop for the inking rather than by hand. I feel this gives a cleaner, crisper image, much better suited to the type of books I plan to create.

Due to this creative dilemma, it set me back a bit with completing the final pages, but I did manage to finalise a couple of pages ready to be scanned into Photoshop.

I also discovered an online tool called Pixlr.
Due to a lack of Photoshop at work, I began researching an alternative. I ‘ve previously tried a number of other options such as Gimp and, but never really took to them. I found Pixlr, however, has a very effective, simplified interface, that feels like a collection of the most commonly used and useful features from Photoshop.
This is only on the online desktop version mind you – the mobile app is more similar to the Instagram photo editor and doesn’t have any of the advanced features of the online version.
Pixlr is definitely worth a look as a free Photoshop alternative though, and I will continue to use it when I find myself without access to a more premium option.

Next Week’s Target

My target will be to finalise all the pencil work and scan the pages ready for finishing in Photoshop.


My First Book – Week 1

This Week’s Target

‘My target will be to finish writing my first book ‘My Nan is a Ninja’, get it fully planned out, and begin sketching out the final page designs.’

I think I may have set myself quite a tall order for this week’s target, and I struggled to find pockets of time to finish everything I’d set myself. I did what I could though, and I managed to get a reasonable amount completed.
I finished writing my first book ‘My Nan Is A Ninja’. I also managed to plan out the layout for the book, albeit with some rather crudely drawn images. Unfortunately, I’ve barely started with sketching the final pages out so this will be a priority next week. I also need to decide how I’m going to render the images – I’m not sure whether to paint the images and then tweak them in Photoshop, or whether to do all the painting digitally.


I created a rough logo this week too (a plum was the obvious choice), although I will refine this at a later date.

I also started to read through some of the info on the KDP Help Topics website. The info on there is a must-know if you’re looking to self publish, so I thought I best make a start on absorbing some of it!

Next Week’s Target

My target will be to sketch out a substantial amount of final page designs and to test out and choose a rendering style.

My First Book – Week 0

For my first progress report, I thought it would make sense to go back and cover the steps I have already taken before beginning this blog.




  • I have set up a ‘Tom Plum’ Outlook account, Instagram account and Goodreads account.
  • I have partially set up a KDP account.
  • I have four books that I have almost finished writing, and various other ideas to develop.
  • I have downloaded and played around with Kindle Kids’ Book Creator.

Next Week’s Target

My target will be to finish writing my first book ‘My Nan is a Ninja’, get it fully planned out, and begin sketching out the final page designs.


I guess the first thing to do when writing a blog is to introduce yourself. I can only presume that’s right – I’ve never written a blog before and I’ve never followed any either, so I wouldn’t really know to be honest. Here we go then –

Hi, I’m Tom Plum.

As you can imagine, this is my pseudonym. Although, Tom is in fact my real first name. Plum however is actually my wife’s maiden name. Although she used to spell it with a ‘be’ on the end (Plumbe). I decided to drop the ‘be’ though, as people sometimes get confused and pronounce it ‘plum-bee’.
This might seem rather uncreative of me, but I played with some other names and they all felt forced and unnatural. I decided instead to go with my first instinct. ‘Tom Plum’ has a nice ring it to it – it’s a friendly, jolly kind of name, and in my mind is perfect for writing children’s books.

Which is what this blog is all about!
I am an aspiring author beginning my journey into the world of self publishing, and I wanted a way to track my progress and keep myself on target. Each Friday I will give a report of my achievements for the week, and make note of anything interesting I discover along the way. I may from time to time do additional posts, but the weekly report will be the main bulk of the content.

To be honest, this blog is mainly as an incentive for me, rather than for any particular audience. If at a later date my ramblings have some value to other aspiring writers then that’s great, but ultimately this is a quite a selfish blog.
My plan is to set myself a target every week, and record on here how much I have achieved. I will then feel obliged to try and achieve these goals to save face publicly on this blog. Even if no one ever reads this, the hope is that just having this blog will give me the metaphorical rocket-up-the-bum to get on and get it done!

Wish me luck!