Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Making and Drawing Images for a Coloring Book

Question on creating coloring books and drawing the art. I took this as an opportunity to flush out my thoughts on making coloring books. I think I kind of wrote out a course outline. This came from my Facebook group on Publishing, How to Publish Your Book

Question:  I am working on several coloring books and the art looks a bit unprofessional and not sure if I should hand draw them or not. I did some drawing on my iPad pro and tried saving it as a jpeg and the printer said it is not high res. I called Apple and they did not know which app I can buy to be able to save my art as a high resolution jpeg. And then I am not sure which publisher or print company to use to get my coloring book done. Maybe I need to hire someone to do this tech stuff for me. I am an artist not a tech person. I am trying the tech stuff is so difficult for me and I am stuck again so frustrated. Any ideas? I sent a recent illustration to a printer to publish my coloring book via email and they said it is not high quality enough to print my book. now what. No one knows how do do this Apple did not help the printer did not know. Would any one please help me get my coloring book done and published. Much thanks. – Jennifer J.

If you want to self publish your books and sell them on Amazon then is a fantastic place to be. They also have excellent author prices if you wanted to buy some of your own copies. I use them for all my coloring books as do most of us here. I am going to keep this simple and say just stay with CreateSpace to get this all going. Once you understand how to do it, then there are some other options, but stay with CreateSpace for the time being

Book Layout
You will need a program to layout the book pages. I use Adobe Indesign and Illustrator but for a coloring book, PowerPoint works just fine, set the file up for 8.5 x 11 vertical. The cover is a little more tricky but you could use the CreateSpace Cover Creator to do your first one and that would get you going.

Options for Creating Illustrations
If you have access to Photoshop and a drawing tablet then you could draw your illustrations that way, the key for CreateSpace and printing is that the illustrations should be 300 dpi in resolution. (dots per Inch). It is just a setting in Photoshop. You draw on the tablet and the images get drawn in Photoshop. Tablets are pretty affordable, Wacom is the main brand. PhotoShop is now rented $20/month

Adobe Illustrator
If you have illustrator style of images then that might be a way to go, but there is a learning curve and I don't think this is a good way for you to start. Illustrator also has image tracing but again there is a pretty steep learning curve, Illustrator is now rented $20/month

I Don't Have PhotoShop
You can also buy Adobe Photoshop Elements 15. It is kind of like photoshop light, it has all the basic features you would need, I use it on my laptops. They still seem to sell it, it is $70. You would just have to check with Wacom if Elements works with it, it should

Or pick up a scanner at Staples, they are pretty cheap these days, under $100. You scan your hand draw illustrations at 300dpi, it is just a setting, and a little touch up in Elements, like line contrast and such, and you have your artwork ready to go.

There are probably services that can scan your artwork, I just checked, Staples has them in their business centers.

You could also hire a freelancer to clean up and prep your drawings.

My recommendation to get started at a basic level
• Draw your images with a good black pen, decent line weight so that they scan well. Make them fit into a 8.5 x 11 page vertical with 1/2 clean margin
• Scan your drawings on a bought or rented scanner (Staples)
• Assemble your drawings in PowerPoint, page size 8.5 x 11 vertical
• Use the CreateSpace Cover Creator to make the cover.
• Publish on

Ok I think I just outlined a new course here, time to do some of this. Simple book and then a more complex coloring book

J. Bruce Jones is a best selling author and graphic designer with over 40 books. Bruce is also the creator of several online courses designed to get you publishing your own books.

To learn more about creating your own children's books for Kindle check out my course Learn How to Make Children's Picture Books for Kindle, Click Here.

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