Best way to Illustrate a Children's BookThe best way to illustrate a children's book
Things I learnt from the digital illustration of my first children's book
Completely drawn with Procreate on the iPad Pro, Prince Martin Win's His Sword landed on Kindle and in the pocket book this weekend. Printmartin Win's His Sword has 8 inside pictures - one for each section - plus the front page and an extra subscription for the bonuses section that will be available as a promotional offer. By the time I started to draw, we hadn't decided how big the pocketbook would be or how the text would look (since the text rhymed, it was initially spelled in stanza's instead of paragraphs).
As I knew that I would have to give myself a lot of space to adapt later on, I decided to make the screen in Procreate large and rectangular, 5000 x 5000 dots. It turned out this wasn't the best choice (more on this in a minute), but it was built on a pretty solid argumentation, and in the end everything worked well.
I had the notion that I would have many pixel - even at printing size (I did) - and the rectangle seemed to be oriented neutrally (only partially true). Quadratic pictures worked well on Kindle because there are so many different sized machines that it is not possible to create an actual picture that will appear on every picture in full size mode.
Squares are large and take up most of the monitor, but almost always allow enough room to show text before and/or after. This seemed to diminish the appearance of unpleasant loopholes in the text and provided enough coherence for the readers not to have the feeling that they ended up somewhere else in the book when they ended up in a picture.
This last point I thought was particularly important in a book for early reading (6-9 years). At Kindle the artwork is all in-line with the accompanying text and the quadratic size worked well, even though it seemed to make the pictures less so. But when it was decided to make the softcover we wanted to confuse things and make it a little dramatic by using full-page and sometimes full-page pictures.
But this was a bigger challenge when I had to take a quadratic picture. In some cases the signs could be moved independently of the wallpaper, and in others the resize would ruin the size of the picture. Since I had drew them in very high resolutions, I could extend and re-draw the wallpaper, but it would have been much simpler if I had given myself much more crocusable wallpaper.
All illustrations are entirely digitally created. Although pen and papermaking is more Natural, the capability to quickly delete, copy, turn and copy/paste was much more effective. Here you can e.g. choose a too large link, change the size and then turn it back to its place, which means an enormous saving of timecons.
Next I dye the line and make another sketch using a dark graph. A different painter could jump forward and make fewer re-drawings, but I think the picture gets better every single painting, so I think it's really something to do. It' at last it' s the right moment for paint and inks.
I' m using Procreate's gym stylus tools to draw the whole design and keep the planes of the sketches easily in view. Some of the wallpapers were last done, partly because I only chose a wallpaper design after finishing some of the wallpaper work. Are iPads a Toys?
I was wondering when I began the job if I could really make really good, print-ready artwork on an iPad. Indeed, Prince Martin's very first sketch characters came before the iPad Pro, so I drew and colored them on a piece of cardboard and then scan the line drawings for color.
iPad Pro and Procreate were a clear "yes" to this issue. I not only completed the whole iPad based design in nice printing quality, but I also believe that the total design was made possible by the degree of versatility and saving of processing it. While there are many benefits to designing and coloring on an iPad, one that is missed is the assembly and disassembly times.
Also the picture dissolution was a big issue. Although I was happy that high-definition painting gave me a great deal of freedom in using the illustration in the pocket book or in the case of belated changes to the layouts, I may have pushed it too far. It was the high definition that restricted the number of shifts I could have and sometimes forced me to mix and match items I wouldn't normally have.
I' m assuming these two things will get better over the course of the years as iPad Pro and Procreate devices are up-dated. Prior to starting to sketch for book two of the set, I plan to review the definitive edition and approach the definitive dissolution, allowing a less ample scope for errors, but enhancing the sketches themselves.
Eventually, since this was our first book in the show, we started from zero. It was all new, so we had to find out the text formats, the layouts in our prints and prints, the styles, the character designs and the technique; we had to find out which sequences to illustrate and how many.
Much of this has already been finalized for book two and I also await the definitive text before I start to draw. In addition to the mere representation of the character and plot in the narrative, illustration has the strength to generate excitement, to act out the text, to evoke emotions and even to supply things that are guaranteed only in the reader's fantasy.
Or, an animation at the end of a section could highlight the terrible straight lines in which our characters find themselves and increase the excitement for the next section. A picture with an emotive punching, which comes at the right moment, can astonish and please a readership when they turn the page. This is the next step I want to take in book two.
Printmartin Wins his Sword is my first picture book and the first in Brandon Hale's Prince Martin Epic family. It is now available in Kindle and pocket size. I' m going to start with book two of the show soon.