Another day, and other page of my children's picture book

Here’s another example of an image that works in both the 16:9 e-book aspect ratio and as a square for the print version of my book.

I call this 16:9, but when I measured it, I found that it’s really 16:10. I’ll expand the image in InDesign to fit into the e-book template. When expanding images it’s important to have a sufficiently high resolution that the expanded image doesn’t drop below 300 dpi. When that happens Ingramspark will reject the upload. It’s a good idea to work with 400 or 600 dpi images just in case you have to do something funky.

The e-book version of the page…

The square print version… Note the white margin on the left of the page. That margin is on the side that attaches to the spine. It’s on the left for odd numbered pages and on the right side for even numbered pages.

Painting in Krita for the First TIme

I’ve decided to do all of my painting using Krita, which means that I’ll be doing my painting on my desktop computers, and eventually on my Linux setup. I started using Krita by editing a picture that needs to be squared to fit into the print version of my book. This particular image is quite a mess. Momma Jay’s body and arms are truncated and, for some unknown reason, I changed the color palette for this image and Momma Jay’s pink hair and hot pink accents are too saturated. I’ll have to do some repainting. I will also extend the picture downward to add more of her arms. It’s a work in progress and I’ll be completing this do-over tomorrow.

This is the original image…


And this is the image I’m working on in Krita


The InDesign File -> Package Tool

InDesign can create a “package” containing all of the resources used to create a document. The images in an InDesign document are low-resolution placeholders linked to full-sized images stored elsewhere on the system. When I create an InDesign package, InDesign creates a package that contains all of the document’s resources, including a copy of the InDesign .indd file and copies of the linked images. InDesign changes the image links in the .indd file to point to the images in the package directory. The package is now a clone of the original project. It stands on it own and can be sent to another person for editing. Who knows, I might someday have to send my Jaybird book to an editor, graphic designer, collaborator, etc. so that they can work on my project with a complete set of files.

In the example below I have opened the InDesign document contained in a package. When I edit the images in the package, the images will automatically be updated in the package’s InDesign file.

This example shows a page containing a low-res copy of a PSD file.

I edited the image in the package Photoshop and turned off the color layers.

When I return to InDesign, I can see that the image has been automatically updated. This is very cool!


inDesign: It's Not Hard; It's Tedious

Besides going shopping at the local food co-op, I spent the day moving text and files to a new inDesign template. My reason for moving everything? The reason is that I screwed up the margins in my first template so badly that I couldn’t figure out how to straighten them out. I spent an hour cursing inDesign, even though I secretly knew that I created the problem myself. In the end I decided to create a new book template with the correct margins and pour all of the text and images into it.

That was a great idea, but I couldn’t find a way to “pour” one file into another like old wine into a new bottle. When I admitted to myself that my knowledge of inDesign was minimal, I started copying one object at a time from the original messed up document to the new template. This method works, but it’s slow. That’s me all over: working, but slow.

Here’s dusk as I sometimes see it from my backyard.

inDesign Transparent Text Boxes to the Rescue

I want some of my children’s picture book images to fill the 8x8-inch page. My problem is that I didn’t take into account that I would be putting text over the images and now I have to squeeze the text in somehow. I’ve tried to make the text readable on dark backgrounds by giving the the characters a 6-pixel white stroke, but it looks really amateurish. Today I read enough of the inDesign documentation to learn how to set a paragraph’s background color, and how to outline the paragraph with a stroke. By setting the background transparency to about 80% I can place the text frame into most images without obscuring important details. A one-pixel black stroke keeps the white background from bleeding into any light areas in the image.

To set the inset (padding) for the paragraph, select the text frame using Command-B* to open the Text Frame Options box. I using an inset of 0p8 (8 points). In the Paragraph Properties box I’m choosing the beveled corners and a black stroke.

What the page looks like in inDesign.

In the exported PDF, everything beyond the trim line has been removed. There’s a .25 inch margin on the left (inner) margin where the page will be attached to the spine. I think this looks good, better than putting a heavy white stroke on the text.

What the page looks like in the exported PDF. The .25 inch margin shows up on the left.

What the page looks like in the exported PDF. The .25 inch margin shows up on the left.

  • The Mac “command” key is the equivalent of the Windows “control” key.

PDFs Formatted for Ingramspark Print Books Don't Work for eBooks

For print books, Ingramspark requires a .25-inch margin on the inside of the page where it’s attached to the spine. As an experiment I imported the print PDF into Kindle Create to get an idea of how the images are being exported. As expected, the portion of the image in the bleed area was removed. The inner margin, however, was not removed. When I eventually create the PDF for the eBook version, I’ll change inDesign settings to remove that margin.