Chore Day Sep 21, 2019: Seeking Low-res Images in an InDesign Children's Book

Today I checked the file sizes for the images in my children’s book. Last month I learned that InDesign could process my PSD files directly and I started replacing the JPEG and PNG images with the original PSD files, one at a time. Just to make sure I’d replaced all of the low-res files, I saved the book as an InDesign package, which places a copy of all the files in use into a project folder. Today I looked at the “links”, as InDesign calls packaged images, and found that I had not replaced many JPEG and PNG files. Some of the images were large enough and had sufficiently high resolution to work with a print book, but others had a suspiciously small file size. When I checked those funky files I found that they were 1000x1000 pixels, which would fail to pass the Ingramspark minimum resolution requirement. I’ll have to replace those files with the original PSD files. I’ll have to search for them. I know that some of the missing files exist only on my iPad.

Here’s an example of what I’m seeing. Notice the pixel size of 1000x996.

too_low_res_blog.png low-res jpeg, pngs, InDesign, Ingramspark requirements

Removing the Black Stroke from All Text Boxes in InDesign

The more I looked at the black stroke around all of my story’s text boxes, the more I hated them. They were giving every page a disheveled, congested feeling. So, I decided to remove all strokes. I guessed InDesign, having every feature imaginable, would have a way to removed them all at once, and it does — but it will only work when the object’s stroke is the default stroke, not with any custom stroke that’s been applied after the text box was created. Custom strokes must be changed manually. So, I soldiered on and marched diligently through all 32 images and removed all of the strokes by hand. It took about an hour. The silver lining of this tedium is that I found a couple of typos and some text that had a white stroke that obscured some of the letters on the lines above and below. Altogether, it was a profitable day.

This image shows the text without the obnoxious black stroke.

no_stroke_blog.png InDesign, text frame, text box, removing stroke, default stroke

Day Two of Rounded Text Bubbles

Today was a repeat of yesterday — making rounded text frames. I didn’t find a way to transform all of the text frames globally, so I edited them one by one. Boring work. I’m guessing there’s a quick way to make changes to all of the text frames at once, I don’t have the time to look for it. I’m ready to move on to the next phase of this book. Funny, but I don’t even know what that’s going to be yet. All I can think of at this moment rounded corners.

I do think the pages are looking more organic that the square rectangles. Here’s a screenshot of how the pages look in InDesign.

rounded_corners_blog.png InDesign, Rounded text frames, text bubbles, children's picture book

The Final Five Pages of My Children's Picture Book

I’ve placed all of the images into my 40-page picture book. There are 10 more pages that I didn’t account for when I started this project: six pages of front matter and four pages of back matter. That’s a lot of white pages to fill with details like the title page, copyright page, frontispiece, end notes, and a blank final page for the publisher’s barcode.

I’m still tweaking the text bubbles…some of them are ugly and distracting. And, now that I have the whole piece completed, I can see that some images, even after my adjustments, still need some more room between the subjects and the outside cut line.

Here’s a screenshot of the final five pages in InDesign. Next step, after a few final touches to the text and crowed images, will be figuring out how to generate a publishable PDF.

Adding Eight More Pages to My Children's Book

My original plan was to create a 32-page children’s book. Thirty-two pages is pretty much the standard length, so I created 38 images and edited the book down to 32 pages. When I discovered that the print book would require 5 or 6 pages of front matter (title page, copyright page, frontispiece, etc), I thought about keeping the 32-page length by removing five images and doing some rewriting. However, that plan made me sad. Instead, I decided to create a 40-page book that keeps all of my original images and text and adds one more realistic painting of a Steller’s Jay, which Jimmy Jay is, and a realistic painting of a Monarch butterfly, which Buddy Butterfly is, with perhaps a little information about them.

Today I managed to complete one more page. The bleed lines show where the pages will be trimmed. By extending the image into the bleed area, there won’t be any white space at the edges of the page when the printer (Ingramspark) creates the bound version of the book. There is, however, a white margin along the spine — that’s where the book will be glued in. The white margin on the inside of the page is one of Ingramspark’s official requirements.

Al Fresco Art Club, September 1, 2019 -- 30 Days Without Digital Art

Today the Al Fresco Art Club posed this challenge: to do all drawing and painting using only traditional media for the next 30 days. If your work requires using digital tools, you can use them. However, for personal art, we can use only traditional media. I’m going to focus on learning the basics of painting with gouache. Today I turned my gaze to one of my favorite paintings, Cézanne’s Farmhouses near Bellevue (1892-1895). When I did a search to find more information about this painting, I found that it’s also know by the name Fields at Bellevue. I suspect that names is an incorrect translation, but I can’t prove it.