Some news! I’ve illustrated my first e-book! 🙂
Earlier this year, Flying Books, a publisher of children’s e-books on the iOS platform, matched me with Chris and Melissa Bugaj from the Night Light Stories podcast who wrote this wonderful story about a dragonfly, a buffalo, and a ferret on an adventure. They needed an illustrator to bring the story to life, and that illustrator turned out to be me! I got the assignment for Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us The Way in March 2012, a few weeks before I was to leave for a 2-month working vacation in the US. The timing was inconvenient, but I wasn’t going to pass it up.
Chris and Mel sent me the story and I did some visual research on the three main characters. Being from Asia, the only character from the story I’m familiar with is the dragonfly. Ferrets are uncommon where I live (my thought bubble upon receiving a copy of the story: “What’s a ferret?” LOL) and I’m accustomed to the Asian water buffalo which looks different from the American buffalo in the story.
Some initial, exploratory sketches of the characters
After approval of some proposed character sketches, I started out by making very loose and rough thumbnails of each frame in the story. This was just for my reference so I know where elements are placed and can see at a glance if the pictures alone tell a story independent of the text.
By this time, I was already in the US. I knew I’d have sporadic and interrupted working hours. I was also juggling multiple projects… while traveling. For Dragonfly, I decided I needed to work with a style/technique that allowed me to work fast and to not rely heavily on defined line work as I was also without access to a scanner for most of my trip. I was planning on just making loose pencil sketches, taking a photo of my sketch with an iPhone, then overlaying and building up color and form digitally.
Actual working sketches. Not much to look at!
I would send off five pages of sketches at a time to Chris and Mel, and to Hana from Flying Books. They would give their comments and suggestions and I would revise my sketch if needed (i.e. a different angle, a wider shot of the scene, etc.). When the sketches were approved, I would go into Photoshop for color.
Sample finished frame without the story text.
The whole project took about seven months, from the time I received the manuscript to the publication of the e-book within the Flying Books app on the App Store. Yes, the e-book is out!
On your iPad, go to the App Store and search for the Flying Books app. It’s a FREE e-book reader publishing a nice collection of illustrated children’s e-books in English, German, French, and Spanish. Download the Flying Books app and you will see Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us The Way on the bookshelf. The e-book itself is available to buy for $2.99. The nice thing about the Flying Books app is that you can let it read Dragonfly (and all the other stories available on the app) out loud or you can record your voice reading the words on the page. Ideal if you’re traveling and you can’t be there physically for bedtime reading with your kids. Or your cat.
Thank you to Chris and Mel for writing a wonderful story that was wonderful to illustrate. This couple is super sweet and sooo adorableeee, too! Check out their e-book announcement video. Their excitement is infectious!
Thank you also to Hana from Flying Books for the guidance and to Flying Books for giving me the opportunity to illustrate for them!
Find Chris and Mel and more of their original children’s stories at the Night Light Stories podcast website, http://www.nightlightstories.net/, or like their Facebook page.
Find Flying Books and check out more of their e-books on their website or their Facebook page.