My First Book – Week 6


Colouring underway…

After resolving the problem with my Wacom tablet last week, I was finally able to begin colouring this week. I did a number of colour tests and played with some different colouring styles. After quite a bit of experimentation, I think I’m happy to proceed with finishing the pages. I’ve done a couple, I just need to crack on and get it finished now.

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I have also begun selecting the best bits from the Kindlepreneur website and other sites, and have started making my own personal KDP guidebook. Having all that key information in one place is a lot easier when it comes to actually using it, rather than flicking between multiple pages on multiple websites.

So it seems the end is in sight! Hopefully, my first book will be on Amazon in the not-too-distant-future!


 

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My First Book – Week 5


The linework is finally done!

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I was pretty loose with the schedule this week, but I managed to finish all the main drawings for the book, inked them all and scanned them ready for Photoshop.
Also, I decided to give Illustrator another shot, and although I won’t be using it to finalise the artwork quite yet, I did use one of its very clever features called ‘Image Trace’.
Image Trace does as the name implies – it traces over the scanned image and replaces all the linework with a clean, bold vectorised line. Although not 100% perfect, the results are pretty impressive and will save me hours and hours of retracing by hand in Photoshop.

 

Using Image Trace In Illustrator


For anyone interested in the process I used, it goes as follows –

  1. Create a new document in Illustrator. (I used the A4 template as my scanned images are A4 in size).
  2. File, Place – then select your scanned image.
  3. Position the image in the workspace.
  4. Object, Crop Image – to clean up the edges.
  5. Object, Rasterize – Set to grayscale and 300 DPI. This prepares it ready for image tracing.
  6. Object, Image Trace, Make – In the Image Trace window adjust the threshold to suit, and click trace.
  7. File, Export, Export As – Choose your prefered file type and you’re done!

Competent users would then continue to edit their work within Illustrator, however, due to my inexperience, I have chosen to export my pages and continue editing them using Photoshop.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a disaster when it came to colouring the pages – my Wacom tablet wouldn’t work! Initially, I thought it was completely broken but I brought it to work today and it functions well enough on my work PC, although one button on the pen is definitely defunct now. Hopefully, it’s just a driver or settings issue on my laptop at home, so fingers crossed I can begin colouring this weekend!


 

My First Book – Week 4


So last week I began my new daily, task-based schedule…

Some days I kept to it and managed to easily achieve the set goal for that day, other days it just didn’t happen. I won’t make excuses, some days I just looked at the sketchbook and thought – no. I am a bit disappointed in myself, but I realised that although I didn’t stick fully to the set tasks, it did give me the incentive to try and achieve something each day. I’m still going to stick to the schedule as close as I can as I want to be able to create books in the shortest time possible, however, if it doesn’t happen every day then I’ll just try and make it up later.

So as it stands I’ve very nearly finished all the line work and inking for My Nan Is A Ninja, I’ve just got a couple of pages left and then I will finally begin photoshopping. Which I’m actually very excited about.

Week 4

Also, during a bit of research this week I found an excellent site called Kindlepreneur.
Dave Chesson who runs the site offers a lot of really good free info for newbies to the KPD game so I highly recommend you take a look. He also has a really cool analysis tool on there that I’m very tempted to buy in the future. I’ll add it to the ‘things-I’m-going-to-buy-with-the-earnings-from-my-book-sales’ list!

I’m also no longer going to have a ‘next week’s target’ section as my overall target will be to stick to the schedule! Instead, I’ll just give a rundown of what I’ve learned and achieved, which will hopefully be a respectable amount each week.


 

My First Book – Week 3

This Week’s Target


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


 

I only managed to get about half of the pencil work done this week, so I think I may have aimed a bit high again. I did ink all the finished pages though, which I hadn’t planned for last week.
The inking might not have been necessary, as I’m going to have to re-ink them digitally anyway, but the final line-work is clearer so this should be an advantage in Photoshop later. Maybe I’ll time myself when I ink and see if it would be worth cutting it from the creative process.

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As my rate of production has been a bit hit and miss, I decided to plan out a new monthly schedule, with a target for each day, rather than a general target for each week. My long-term goal is to be able to produce one book a month, within the time constraints of having a full-time job and a young family. With this in mind, I worked out what I would need to complete each day to achieve this based on a 28-day cycle. The schedule is as follows:


28 Day Book Production Schedule

  1. Write book idea.
  2. Finalise story.
  3. Finalise story.
  4. Plan out pages.
  5. Design characters.
  6. Design characters.
  7. Design characters.
  8. Draw pages 1-3.
  9. Draw pages 4-6.
  10. Draw pages 7-9.
  11. Draw pages 10-12.
  12. Draw pages 13-15.
  13. Draw pages 16-18.
  14. Draw pages 19-21.
  15. Draw pages 21-24.
  16. Colour pages 1-3.
  17. Colour pages 4-6.
  18. Colour pages 7-9.
  19. Colour pages 10-12.
  20. Colour pages 13-15.
  21. Colour pages 16-18.
  22. Colour pages 19-21.
  23. Colour pages 21-24.
  24. Design front cover + extras.
  25. Colour front cover + extras.
  26. Create Kindle book.
  27. Create Kindle book.
  28. Publish book.

Whether it will be possible to keep to this is up for debate, but I will try my best to stick to the plan!

I also looked into using Adobe Illustrator this week as an alternative to Photoshop, to see if it would offer any advantages to my workflow. After a bit of researching online and questioning a friend who uses it, I think it could be the better application; however, it would mean learning from scratch how to use a new tool which would set me back significantly. I might set that as a goal for the future.


Next Week’s Targets

To try and follow my new monthly schedule! All going well I should have completed all the line drawings and should have started colouring some pages.