2016 started off great. I had just graduated from UCF with a BS in Computer Engineering, and just started working full time. For Christmas my mom bought me a brand new Wacom tablet, and I was determined to put it in good use. The tablet comes in handy because it took no learning curve, since it feels like I’m drawing by hand. I used to have to use the regular mouse pad for sketching, inking, and coloring, which was a pain because I was limited with things like pressure sensitivity.
My drawing process used to be unconventional and borderline nonsensical. I would sketch and ink something by hand, then use a free scanning app for my phone, only to color it in MSPaint. Yes, MSPaint. I was finally convinced to start using Photoshop and Illustrator like a normal person in 2014.
Now modernized, I wanted to do something big with my new tablet. I kept hearing how adult coloring books were all the rage, but I didn’t want to draw a bunch of shapes and patterns. My biggest interest is drawing comics, so I realized I could just draw up a bunch of comic book panels with blank speech bubbles. This was great for me, as I didn’t have to think of a plot or serious character design; things that were preventing me from doing my own comics. “Comics-Inspired Adult Coloring Book” was born.
While regular people at this step would start planning out pages, I just decided to start out drawing the cover. Having never done a book cover before, I finished it in a couple hours and posted it on Facebook to a pretty decent response.
It was a great feeling, knowing that I could potentially have my first book out in the world. Shortly after that I did one of the first full pages. After that I started planning how many pages I wanted done, how each page should look, and how long it should take me from page 1 to publishing. Strongth was still in the back of my mind, and I was still working, so I know I had to really take advantage of the tiny amount of free time I had every day.
The average coloring book had at least fifty-something pages, with half the amount in actual images to color. I planned for thirty 8.5×11 inch images, picking the best from fifty page ideas I brainstormed.
Sketching, inking and formatting were the three phases I broke the work up into. I made sure no matter what happens, every day I came home from work I made sure to knock out at least two to four rough sketches a day with no excuses. That took about nine days.
Inking is a very time consuming task, but I made sure I was knocking out at least one a day and up to eight every weekend. This took less than four weeks.
The next step was formatting and making sure the book was ready to be published. Originally I planned on using Adobe Indesign, but I found it way too complicated for what I needed. I ended up slapping everything together in a Word doc.
Since I was self-publishing, I was between using Blurb and Createspace for uploading the book. I found Createspace to be a little cheaper, even though Blurb has way more printing options. Both have the print on demand model, so I didn’t have to buy anything upfront. Super convenient.
By early March I had my book live on Amazon. This was more fun and straightforward than any app I’ve ever done, and it took less than two months. Can’t wait to do more!