Berry Kids Adventures Book

Illustrating For Non-artists

Back in 2013 I decided that to win the favorite aunt award I was going to write a children’s book for my niece and nephew. I’m not a writer. Nor am I an artist. However, I really wanted to do it all myself (read: I was too cheap to pay for an actual illustrator). In fact, it’s also now available on Amazon! I’m sure Ame can come in later and explain how to legitimately illustrate, but nevertheless this is the process I created and followed.

I had to think very creatively about what to draw. My skill level is at approximately third grade, so I’m fairly limited in my capabilities. However, I also soon realized that that was okay. Here’s how I did it.

Materials:

  • White paper
  • Pencil
  • Black marker
  • Scanner
  • Adobe Illustrator

 

Steps:

  1. Using pencil, draw the illustration.
  2. Go over the pencil with black marker and erase all pencil lines.
  3. Scan it in on a high resolution setting.
  4. Open the scanned image in Illustrator.
    Illustrator file
  5. Double-click image to select.
    screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-45-47-am
  6. You should now see an option to “Live Trace” – click and wait for action to complete. This estimates where the lines are based on contrast with the background and will turn your illustration into a vector image.
    screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-45-47-am
  7. Next, click “Expand” and the image will highlight all points in the new vector image.
    screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-46-23-am
  8. As it is now, all of the paths are grouped together. However, we want to delete certain parts of the background in order to make them transparent. We’ll later add in color. Right click the image and choose “Ungroup.”
    screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-46-42-am
  9. From here you can treat it like any other vector image!
    screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-46-57-am

I wrote The Berry Kids’ Adventures in response to a very small market of African American children’s books.  The Berry Kids’ Adventures was created so that my niece and nephew could enjoy heroes and heroines that look just like them.

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