@evilrobot thanks for sharing this dude! Thanks everyone on these forums, you all helped me a ton over the last couple years.
I'm a husband and father (the best part of my life) and an aspiring children's book illustrator and author. I have wanted to be involved in children's books since I was in my teens, and for the past eight years I focused on creating stories, though drawing and painting has been a passion of mine since I was very young. So I have finally decided to pursue my dream with everything I have, and hopefully someday I can say I am an actual illustrator for children's books
Posts made by Eric Castleman
RE: My book dummy
@Sarah-LuAnn My brother in law who uses InDesign everyday at his job came by and walked me through it. After having him walk me through it, I thought this would be a great class at SVS, and funny enough a few weeks before I had gotten to talk to @Will-Terry at Designer Con, and my brother in law got to meet him as well. I would love to see if they could get him to do a class for SVS on it, because it streamlines the process so much, and is the perfect sidekick for illustrators.
@burvantill I had an agent reach out too me last April wanting to see if I had any manuscripts in the works, and at the time I was too busy with other things, and so am not just finishing it up. I hope to have it sent by the end of this week. If this doesn’t work out, I will move onto getting an art rep, and spending more time on my writing on the side.
My book dummy
I never realized how much work goes into a book dummy. If I would have known, idk how I would have approached it differently. I started at the beginning of September, hoping it would take me a few weeks, but if I could suggest a few things after going through all of this, here are my tips:
1- learn Indesign!!!! Wow, how have I not used this from the beginning to layout my book dummy? I got a good grasp of it towards the end of this process, and it has just made everything much easier. It isn't a hard program to learn, but it can seem that way when you first start using it.
2- Get your page turns down from the beginning! I can't tell you how much time was wasted on drawing out a complete book, and then realizing a page turn doesn't work, and then having to cut images and text just so the page turn hits correctly. Dropping an image shifts everything, potentially ruining all of your other page turns. I have found that my original idea was easily ruined by not considering this right at the beginning. I started trying to make fixes which were not at the same level creatively because my mindset was to make it fit, rather than writing the best story possible. This feels like writing music with pictures, and getting the tempo down in the beginning is what makes it 100 times easier.
3- Plan other projects to do while working on your dummy. I was dumb, and thought this would be easy. I had a somewhat soft deadline which I missed, and it completely stopped me from working on anything for my social media for almost three months. This was a bad idea. I am glad that this is finally just about done (gosh I hope) so I can get back to some projects I have planned.
4 - share your work with others, because a very obvious issue might not leap out at you, and most likely it won't if it's your own project. I have had numerous people look over my work, or give me advice on where I am missing the mark.
5 - At least try to do a book dummy once, so you can get the feel of the whole process, as well as know what not to do on your next project.
Now my phone is ringing, and I have to go drive 30 minutes in the rain, even though I was putting the finishing touches on this atm (ugh)
RE: Curious: what are your ‘style rules’
My “style” occurred naturally after trying to force a style for a year or so. I gave up trying to draw a certain way, and just made art the way I liked. I realized that style is very much rooted in the steps a person takes from the beginning of a piece to finish. Prior to that realization, I thought style was merely an intential thing.
My first step is to not care about the drawing. I know that that is not a good thing, but I really just don’t care. It is why I didn’t participate in inktober. I like my drawings to be loose, and the objects to be more shapes than anything. So if it is a moon, a cat, and a building, I try my best to make sure the image is designed with shapes more than “characters”. I’ve noticed that the more the shapes are correct, the better the final painting is. I also have fallen in love with painting more than drawing, and would love to one day just paint without drawing at all, but that may never happen.
My second step is to paint the underpainting. I always find the colors I want, and find the warmest color and create a value scale with that one color. I work out all of the lighting, and shadows, and the more time I spend on this process the better the final image is.
My mindset at this stage is that I have a very detailed underpainting, and I now have to mess it up a bit. I start dropping in scanned textures. I like watercolor textures, stuco textures, bark, skin etc. I try my best not to consider where I am placing the textures. I want it to look accidental, and in many ways, I want it to ruin the fine details a bit. I like knowing that all of that work is getting covered up a bit, and only hinted at being very controlled.
Then I move onto placing color on the image. This is the hardest step for me. Balancing color is not a strength of mine, so I tend to spent a lot of time complaining (important part of my process) to my wife that I am a fraud haha. Then it somehow starts to work, and I zero in on the details.
The final step is the Highlights. I go in and somewhat identify shapes that have been lost in the previous steps that I want to emphasize. I hit the parts that need better lighting, and the parts that need better shadows.
That is basically what I do every time. I am always looking for another weird thing to add to it all, but so far I like this process the best.
Is a book cover expected for a book dummy?
I am nearing the end of a book dummy I have been working on for an interested literary agent, and have yet to design a cover. Is this something that is done later if the book is sold, or does the agent want to see how the cover would look? For some reason it doesn’t make sense for me to include it.
RE: iPad users: how do you handle reference images?
I split the screen between my webrowser/pinterest and procreate, and then I can look at a bunch of reference photos.
Can I share artwork for a book dummy on social media?
I have a book dummy that I am finishing up, and an agent is waiting for the submission from me who is also friends with me on facebook. Is it unwise to share an image from the book dummy? I want to see how it is received before sending it, and also, due to the amount of work I have put into this project I have had very little work to share recently, so I was hoping to use a single image from this.