Critter of the Month: Castorocauda

Meet Cassie.  All she wants in life is to get her feet wet, and perhaps a fish or two.  Yes, she would really like fish.  Do you have some?

Cassie_update

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I do apologize for the messy colors and sketchy pencil. Baby finally succeeded in snapping my Wacom stylus in half (partially my fault. I set it down to pick him up. Took 2 seconds for him to grab it, and 2 seconds more for me to snatch it from him and ultimately pull it apart, because half of it simply stayed in his hand). This also explains why Cassie does not have an updated profile. My new stylus has not arrived yet. Hopefully I can still get Friday’s post up. This might mean delays. D:

Making progress…

The progress chart is getting more colorful! 😀 I’ve started trying to research more about actually formatting the book. It’s a bit of hit and miss at this point. One on the one hand I have the Word program I’ve been using, which I know how to get what I want, but it’s a bit of a time-consuming, painstaking process.

  • Every change I make effects the entire document, so I have to double check to make sure everything is how it’s supposed to be.
  • I have no experience formatting, and just because I think something looks good doesn’t mean it’ll look professional when printed.
  • What if I get everything to look good in the word program, but it completely falls apart when I send it to the printers?

So I’ve been looking at other programs to see what I can find. One program that I found, which is free, is Kindle Create.

Pros:

  • It’s free
  • It has automatic templates that are professional and morph to any device once published through Kindle.
  • The process of publishing to companies like Kindle Books or Amazon is virtually brainless. Pretty much push a button and you’re set. Publishing to companies like Ingram Spark aren’t so easy, but are greatly simplified.

Cons:

  • The templates are limited to 3, so I can’t get the look I want
  • Elements like illustrations move all over the place as the templates morph to the various devices. And the size and placement of the images is very limited.
  • There’s a bit of a learning curve to take advantage of the features

So those are the pros and cons of Kindle Create. I’m still waffling between something that is guaranteed to look professional, vs. being able to tweak the illustrations exactly to where I want them and take full advantage of what space there is. I happened to already have a program called Adobe Indesign on hand, and that’s another option.

Pros:

  • It’s basically the Photoshop of design, including book formatting.
  • I can get it to look however I want
  • I can create a template for a chapter, and then create other chapters quickly based on that
  • There are ways to easily ensure the file is compatible for publishing print and ebooks.

Cons:

  • It’s basically the Photoshop of design, so huge learning curve
  • Since I can get it to look however I want, I can easily mess up something horribly with technical things like gutter spacing
  • It’s basically the Photoshop of design, so HUGE learning curve. (Yes, I said it twice on purpose, that’s how insanely insane the learning curve is lol)

So ultimately I’m not sure what I’ll do. I think that word files are supposed to be saved as PDFs, and that’s how you can ensure it doesn’t morph all over the place. With each page as a separate image, there’s no concern with text wrapping where it shouldn’t or anything. So if that is the case I may simply stick with the Word program I’m using for now, and learn Indesign for formatting the picture book or something. It’s not too huge a pain compared to the frustrating learning curve or how extremely limited Kindle Create is. Kindle Create would be better for text, only novels or collections, with very few illustrations. Or at least just a few illustrations tailored to the specifics of the template.

I’ve also been working on a few info pages per critter. The collection only had about 50 or 60 pages with what I had, and I want to make sure it was something actually worth the $5 or so I plan on selling it for. With an extra spread per chapter, that’ll make this little book at about 100 pages.

So here’s a quick preview for the design for each “chapter”. Most have the pencil illustration for the story on the second page instead of right across from the color illustration. It varies a bit from story to story.

I only have Dilophosaurus complete, now I need another little chart for the info pages! 😀 Or at least a checklist. The little globe might need a few more touches. Is it clear enough?

Coming Next Week…

A real sweetie who’ll tolerate just about anything, even dress up.  Just be careful not to spook her. 🙂

Share your guess in the comments! She’ll be one of the critters over on the critter page. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Critter of the Month: Castorocauda

  1. Great to see Cassie again! It’s been a while since she’s come up. Haha, she kinda reminds me of a certain dog I know. 😉

    Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear about your stylus! D: How were you able to make the comic? Had I known, I could have sent you mine. My goodness, that baby is strong! But who knows, maybe it’ll serve as inspiration for a future comic?

    The progress chart is…well…progressing! That’s super exciting. 😀 But gosh, it sounds like the formatting is more time-consuming right now than the illustrations themselves. It’s looking great so far though! Hopefully the software cooperates a little more for the rest of them. I like how you added the info pages. Do you think $5 would be too little, though? I would be kinda suspicious if I saw an illustrated, 100-page book for only that much (unless it were a used copy), but I don’t know anything about pricing.

    Let’s see…one of the only dinosaurs I know of that would tolerate dress-up is Steggie. 😀 Can’t wait to see her!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi brownie, thank you for stopping by! I managed to color it with the mouse. It took forever, but I thought the pencils really needed a little color to liven them up. 😀 At least I get a new stylus out of the deal. It turns out it’s practically a miracle it’s lasted for as long as it has, because it seems they’re not really made all that well. Unfortunately, it also appears Wacom does this on purpose knowing full well that the poor artist has no choice but to buy a new one if it breaks, which is a nice little chunk of change. But ah well, not much one can do about that except get a new one.

      I’ve heard there are other brands that work just as well that aren’t so pricey, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for when my tablet finally bites the dust (hopefully not anytime soon!)

      I have no idea how much a little kid’s chapter book actually goes for, so I was just throwing out a number. I know a small, 8×8 picture book goes for $8 though, so $5 for a little chapter book with full color illustrations is probably low-balling myself. Bottom line though, I want to make sure it’s something worth your while, so I thought a few fun facts would be cool. 🙂 It is more work, but I think it’ll be better in the end. 🙂

      And yes! Next critter on the train is Steggy. Hmm…I wonder what I should do for her? I really want to draw some silly sketches. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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