Updated: Jun 14
I’ve been working with author Julia Dweck on an eBook about dinosaurs. We’ve been having tons of fun with this book and it should be coming out any minute now. Here’s a quick behind the dino-scenes look at how to illustrate a dino-eBook.
Illustrating an eBook step 1:
This book is based on a poem about dinosaurs. The theme for this particular page was about a dino party at night. I wasn’t quite sure where to go with it so I sat down with my iPad and started sketching. As you can see my initial sketch is pretty rough but loosely blocking things in allows me to play around, have some fun, and not get too attached to the drawing. After trying a few different directions I decided to go with a dino-pool party.
Rough sketch was done on the iPad
Illustrating an eBook step 2:
I was pretty happy with the rough so I printed out a version so I could trace and clean up. I work with super-cheap copy paper… mostly because it’s super cheap. Sometimes I go directly from the iPad to Illustrator but in this case, I was having a little trouble getting the exact look I wanted. Whenever that happens I throw down a fresh piece of paper and grab a pencil. I guess I’m just an old school guy because pencil on paper never fails.
The final sketch of the dinosaur pool party. Done it red pencil, scanned to photoshop and cleaned up a bit.
Illustrating an eBook step 3:
The next step is to drag everything into Adobe Illustrator and create the line art. It’s all done on layers because as you know there are about 37 different types of e-readers out there and they come in all shapes and sizes. That means we’ll probably need to shift things around to fill pages better when the proportions change. Having things on layers makes that A LOT easier.
Line art is created in Adobe Illustrator.
Illustrating an eBook step 4:
Once the linework is complete the illustration is colored in Illustrator and then assembled with text in InDesign. Even though I had roughed out the book in advance I thought this illustration looked better flopped. That’s the beauty of using tools like Illustrator and InDesign they are super flexible and allow you to make changes on the fly (of course, depending on how fussy you are that can be a double-edged sword). You young whippersnappers out there with your fancy technology will not appreciate the magnitude but to us old-timers being able to make changes as you go is something we used to only dream about. So that’s my story. From here it’s off to Julia for review then straight to production. If all goes well you’ll be hearing about the release of this book very soon. Thanks for reading.
Flopping the final illustration using Adobe InDesign.