Useful books and Other Resources

Various writing, story design, comics, art, and animation books. The beginnings of a list…

The Understanding Comics series by Scott McCloud:
Understanding Comics
Making Comics
Reinventing Comics
A pioneering exploration of what makes comics tick.

Drawing People by Joumana Medlej
A book remarkable for its examination of different skin colours and body forms of people from around the world. Look in Joumana’s shop for the ebook.

Digital Prepress for Comic Books by Kevin Tinsley.
Goes into the details of preparing comics for print.

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How I Colour a Comic in Photoshop

This is how I build a colour comic in Photoshop.

Scan the original drawing.

I start by scanning a black-and-white drawing.

The drawing should be drawn with colouring in mind. Large dark areas are generally added during the colouring, so they should not be done as part of the black-and-white drawing.

The colouring style I describe here relies on using the ‘bucket’ tool to fill large areas; they can also be filled using brushes.

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Jacket text for “Red Rabbit! Red Rabbit!”

I am working through a series of exercises with Jackie on planning Red Rabbit! Red Rabbit!. Step 4 involves writing ‘jacket text’ for the story. This is the text that might appear on the back of the book, or on the front flap of a dust jacket. It’s a kind of marketing text intended to draw the readers interest.

So for, I’ve come up with this:

A hidden society of supremacists is trying to take over the world. They are outnumbered by the rest of us, yet they believe that their strength, intelligence, weaponry, and general cuteness give them the right to rule us all.  Yes, cuteness… for these supremacists are rabbits.

Years ago, Tom Johnson and his parents had fled the rabbits’ captivity to build a new life on the outside. Tom’s father had gone back in later to rescue other humans from the rabbits’ totalitarian nightmare… and never returned.

Now, Tom was in high school. But his earliest memories were of the safe predictable environment that the rabbits provided for their human guests. He remembered the rabbits’ soft fur and cute little voices, and their warmth and love… and he looked around at the harsh world of high school, the bullying and endless struggle, and he knew he had to leave.

First attempt at a cover for The Lonely Little Fridge!

Pen-and-ink artwork before colouring with watercolours. Complete with ink blotches!

This is my first attempt at laying out the cover for The Lonely Little Fridge. The artwork is india ink over pencil sketches on paper.

Because the artwork was largeish (2 panels 8.5 inches square, plus a 0.25-inch spine between), I scanned it in five pieces using VueScan. Then I opened all the pieces in Photoshop and assembled them into one image there. Because the linework is so sparse, Photoshop’s auto-align function didn’t have enough to work with, so I aligned by hand and used the auto-blend function to smooth things out. Then I used Levels to expand the dynamic range, smashing light greys toward white and dark greys toward black.

IngramSpark provides templates for each size and type of cover they offer. This cover will be case-bound, with a page trim size of 8.5 inches square. One of the templates is an InDesign file, so I built the cover on it, inserting the artwork and text on layers between the ISBN layer and the layer with guides and printed info.

Once I get the artwork coloured (via Viviva watercolours), I will scan it again and do this all over again!

Legal Deposit

When publishing a book in Canada, it is an actual legal requirement to send a copy or two to the national library for their collection.

This applies to printed books, ebooks, serial publications, video and audio recordings, maps, microforms, even sheet music.

The materials go into the national library, and one copy is made available for the public, while the other goes into The Archives.

More from Library and Archives Canada.

Preparing to print a hardcover

The Lonely Little Fridge is going to be a hardcover and a fixed-format ebook.

Amazon print-on-demand does not print hardcovers, so I set up an account at IngramSpark (, the publishing platform, who does print hardcovers. They also handle distribution worldwide; bookstores order from them.

In order to print with them, we have to provides all sorts of information, in addition to the actual book files.

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Languages, Languages

I am hoping to get my books translated into as many languages as possible.

I’m starting with the smaller ones, with The Lonely Little Fridge to be specific. The actual word count of The Lonely Little Fridge is only around 700, so it should be relatively easy and inexpensive to have it translated.

I’m going to translate it into Esperanto and hopefully have someone else check it. I would very much like it to be translated into French.

I’d also like it to be translated into Indigenous languages, such as Inuktitut (with the syllabic writing). or Kanien’kéha (known to English-speakers as Mohawk) or Anishinaabemowin (known to English-speakers as Ojibwe).

Alas, no exhibiting at online TCAF… this year.

However, I got a great message back from them with some useful advice:

For those who are interested in applying for TCAF in the future, we want to take a moment to provide some context for what our committee considers when selecting applicants for TCAF:

TCAF exhibitors should have a substantial body of comics in print. We are a comics focused show, which means that we try to prioritize exhibitors who have lots of comics for sale.

TCAF exhibitors are encouraged to debut new work at the festival. New comics and new books help make TCAF exciting for patrons, and tend to ensure more successful and profitable shows for exhibitors. It’s great to see applicants who have a solid idea of a new comics project, especially one that has a clear and confident plan for completion.

It’s important to note that these aren’t “the rules” for applying to TCAF, and many other factors are taken into consideration, but we hope this helps with your future TCAF applications.


So I’m going to finish “Little Lost Part” as if I were exhibiting it at TCAF, and keep going from there!