Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pinguchan: a book for children

After I started attending life drawing sessions a year ago, my motivation for painting also started to grew. I learned new techniques for painting with watercolours, and a few months later I wrote my first book for children: Pinguchan goes back to school. Pinguchan is named after the Spanish for penguin (pingüino).

The book has 14 pages (excluding the cover) and is available for purchase in Spanish or Japanese on Amazon kindle (you need to install the app in your phone/tablet). The book is distributed without DRM. You can also download a free copy in my broken English here and help me to fix the translation, I promise it will remain free of charge.

After reading a few children books, I started sketching mine. One thing I knew from the beginning is that I wouldn't be able to use the realistic style I was used to. I had no experience with more iconic drawings but I knew that it was going to be necessary for me to learn how to do them.

At first, I didn't think too much about the story. I just kept penciling one page a day, usually after work. Once I wrote them all I put them on the floor of my room and tried to visualize the story as a whole. I removed some parts, added others and even changed the order of some pages.

Once I felt satisfied with the story I started painting them all. For the painting, I used my watercolours and stretched the paper afterwards using the binder clips method I explained before. Then, I scanned the original works, cleaned them with the computer and added the text. For the Spanish version I used the comili book font which is distributed under the SIL Open Font license, and for the Japanese one I just used the standard font for Kindle. Finally, I put all of the pages together and generated the book in Kindle format using the Kindle Kids’ Book Creator application.

The Japanese version of the book was by far the most succesful, and I got a lot of requests from people who would like to buy it in printed form. I have also read my book (as well as other children books) to children and families in various local events. Seeing children smile and react to a story that you've created really feels amazing.

Conclusions: I had never been good at drawing with a non-realistic style, but since I knew it was essential for the book I had no choice but doing it. I think I managed to create some cute illustrations after all, so that's one lesson I learned: try and do it!. Another lesson I learned was that for the first time, when you still lack of experience, it can be good to just go ahead and draw without a plan as long as you can fix it later. For my next book now I have a bit more experience so I will try to plan the story from the beginning.

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