Creating a Children’s Ebook

Childrens book

In this post I’m going to give you some idea of how I approached creating an ebook from artwork I had created about 20 years ago!

The above picture is an actual page from the book with my added copyright. The book was painted on 11 x 17 in. sheets for double spread pages and 8.5 x 11 for normal full pages.

This post will not deal with the uploading of images to Kindle book creator. This is fairly easy once you’ve determined the correct size for the pages you upload. Perhaps that will be for another post.

The first step , of course, is to write out your story. Once you have your concept you can start to write while keeping in mind possible images that might correlate. You may need to edit words and dialogue when it comes to placing it on your image due to space restrictions. In other words as you draw each page it is important to keep in mind that you will need space for text.

Children's Ebbook Drawing

Since it was 20 years ago that I created this book I do not have original photos of the process. What I have done is set up pics to give you some idea of how to go about it.

You can of course use all computer generated images.  These, however , are the actual pages I drew for the book on both 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17 paper. This was before private access to the internet and it is exciting to know that the book can be preserved in a way and it’s message made available

Acrylic wash on cold pressed 140 lb paper was used for the final painting.  Tubes of acrlic paint were used and the paint was applied in washes much like that of watercolour. The benefit of acrylic paint is that it can be added in layers without disturbing the original coat of paint ( unlike watercolour ).

Begin by cutting your watercolor paper to the required size. Some folks like to pre dampen and stretch the paper to keep it from buckling as it drys. To do this ( I have no pics) you tack  or tape your paper to a wooden piece of plywood or better yet a board ( which will have no stains or glues ). You can pour or use a large wash brush to apply generous amounts of water to your paper and let dry. Turn it over if you wish and do the same for the other side. Let the paper dry.

childrens ebook page

Take the original drawings like as above and flip them over. These are the drawings you drew with 2h and HB pencils. Flip them over like this:

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Holding them up to the light by taping them to a well back lit window OR using a light box begin shading in all areas on the reverse side with a 2B ( soft) pencil. You only have to shade areas where there is drawing or lines. You are making a negative transfer as you would use carbon paper ( this dates me I know, ha).

Now place the drawing directly over your watercolor paper. Use some blue low-tack tape to make 2 hinges at the top so you can flip the the drawing page up and down if you need to to see if the transfer is working. But don’t do this often as it could mess up and misalign the drawing. It works like this. Take a dull ( not blunt) F pencil to trace over all your lines. Press down firmly as you trace but not so hard you tear through your paper , of course. When you are done you will have a light transfer of your drawing onto the watercolour paper.  You can now begin painting in your colors using your brushes loaded with thin washes.

Using acrylic paint washes to create a Children's Book

Using acrylic paint washes to create a Children’s Book

You may find that a bottle of frisket mask may come in handy if you want to keep highlight areas white; as in snow flakes , for example.  The frisket is a liquid rubber that can be painted on or applied to areas you don’t want your paint to color. Wait for it to dry first. Next paint over it. Later with a clean thumb or erasure you can rub it off exposing the paper substrate. You’ll find a convenient tool but not to be overused.

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Sometimes, as in the painting above, you may find as I did, that you were not pleased with your first result. If so then prepare another sheet of paper and begin again. You may want to shade over your original transfer drawing  a little since some of the 2B pencil may be less impressionable after the first use. Savvy?

In the drawings above the first attempt (top painting) seemed to come out with harsher gradations. I was more pleased with the bottom result.

The last step is to acquire a good quality flatbed scanner and and with your photo software scan the paintings into your computer. For the large paintings you can scan as two parts and use your software ( such as Photoshop or PhotoPaint ) to stitch them together. If this part is beyond your level of expertise then find someone who can do it for you.

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As I said , technology can be rather exciting!  A 20 year old Children’s Book has been given new life in the cyber-world.

If you’re interested the book is about self worth and it is available from Amazon. The Kindle format is free to download and makes your work look quite beautiful.

Again, thanks for stopping by and visit often or drop me a line.  Have a great day!

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New Journeys

  *Self Esteem Ebook for Children

Sometimes you can find a new journey on an old path.

A new year doesn’t have to mean that everything will be new  for you.  Something good from last year or other years might find it’s way into this one.

You know how we often list off all the crap that happened last year. Debts. Sickness. Accidents and we say good riddance!.

Let’s not throw out Father Time with the bath water…er, or something like that. Father Time has a few good things to give Baby New Year.

Yeah, I know, it’s a little late in the month to be writing about New Years maybe. Looking ahead may bring anxiety and looking back may get us down in the dumps..yeah, January does that to everybody. You’re not alone. Listen to that still, small voice inside of you that wants things to be better. Reach out to someone. It really doesn’t matter what others think. It’s your life and it’s worth looking back (and forward) to anything or anyone that made it good. Don’t focus on what you didn’t get or the way you thought things should have been.

That one good thing is worth living for.

An artist does the same with ideas , techniques and inspiration what we all do with our trash. Recycle it. Revisit it. Renew it. Make it come to life!

Hey , I’m even thinking of taking up oil painting again after having set aside the ole’ linseed oil for decades. There’s something good in the familiar, ya know.  Like the smell of linseed oil. Strong aromas bring back good things and memories sometimes. Don’t dwell on the past though. Think about today.

You may find healing in the winter of your life. I hope you do..I really do.

Thanks for visiting. I know it’s been a while but I guess I just needed the time…

*Detail of Show and Tell Michelle, written and Illustrated by me, Kevin M. Cameron.

20 Years in the Making

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“20 years in the making”. That’s about right in a funny kind of way.

This is a special day . A book which I illustrated and wrote over 20 years ago is now available on Amazon (Kindle). That means that when this book was written my family had no access to the internet at home!  The most advanced technology we had was an ancient floor model TV that literally took 20 minutes to warm up.

The very first scanned copies were saved on floppy disc which if I remember correctly could only hold up to 1 megabyte of data (?).

There’s more to the story at MichelleBook.com  if you’d like to check it out.

From time-to-time I’ll post how things are going and what I’ve learned about ebook creation for children’s picture books (the things they don’t tell you).  In some ways it was easy. I watched lots of youtube videos but I ran into some snags or glitches as I went along.

This is the Amazon  link but you can find the book on other Amazon sites such as .com and .uk

Just a note that since it is a larger file (picture book) it may take a little longer to download but Kindle claims it will do this in the background as you work on your computer.

Coincidence 

If you go too Google today you will see an homage to Lucy Maud Montgomery or just check out Wikipedia.

She was a children’s author from Prince Edward Island ( very close to Nova Scotia where this book is based from). It is her 141st birthday today. This was a totally delightful coincidence as I had planned to write this article today with no knowledge of it being her birthday.

Thanks for stopping by and more to follow!