The Hardest Part So Far

September 11, 2017


I thought that once I had finished with the illustrations (entire book with pictures here), publishing the book would be a breeze.


I was wrong.


Turns out that when you illustrate for a book, you must avoid painting important characters / objects on the sides of the canvas, as that part of the painting can get chopped off in the printing press. That part is called "the bleed".  Therefore you are only supposed to paint inside a “safe zone” about 2 cm in from each side of the canvas (see image above).


I totally sucked at that –




Those are just some examples of how I painted important things too close to the edge of the canvas. Almost all my paintings are wrong for books, and need an experienced graphic designer to move things around and prepare the illustrations for printing. 


“Just hire a graphic designer and get it done you prick”, you might call out to me from your Porsche 911 as you drive by me on the way to your 5 am surf session.


But no! Finding a graphic designer actually turned out to be the hardest part of this whole process: harder than writing the story and harder than painting the illustrations.


It was hard to find someone I trust. I need to work with my designer and be sure that they completely understand the vision I have for the final book. 


After trying to find a designer through friends and contacts, but not finding someone suitable, I’m happy to say that two weeks ago I signed a graphic designer to work with on the book. She is a very cool artist from Chicago called Cari and I found her on a site called


The process –


1. I  wrote a “request for proposal”.  This is a rough scope of the job to be done so designers can send me proposals . 


2. I received about 15 proposals from different designers. Some were an obvious no, for example those who didn’t have experience designing for kid’s books. Some seemed to have a lot of experience, however apart from sounding extremely professional, I didn’t feel like I connected with them on a personal level. I was also unsure they would be very approachable once they started work on the project. Because it’s a creative project, I wanted someone who I could feel would be passionate about the project itself, and not just getting paid to do it.




3. I zoned in on Cari, who has already illustrated an award winning book, as well as having a cool portfolio and who teaches art on Twitch. She approached me with the opening “Heya” which I absolutely loved; She spoke my kinda language! We emailed each other back and forth working out the details of how the work would be done. We ended up with a budget, timeline and milestones we both agreed upon, and I hit “hire” on Upwork.


4. I wrote out the milestones inside the Upwork interface, as well as putting money in escrow for each milestone. That way, every time Cari finishes a milestone, Upwork transfers the money connected to that milestone into her account.


So far, Cari has finished the thumbnails for the book, which look really cool. The thumbnails are basically miniature pictures of the book, showing how the book will look in a spread. This allows us to see what needs to be done for each painting in order to avoid the sides being cut off. It also gives us an idea of which paintings will be a double spread (two pages) and which will be one pagers.



 This is an example of some of the thumbnails she created. Note that earth in image 9 needs to be scooted over, and all other images need to be pushed inwards.  


It's a great feeling to see things moving forward!


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