Creating My Own Illustrations

I recently hired an outside source, to do some illustrations for a children’s book I’m writing. I also hired the same company (different illustrator) to produce some logo work for a client. So far, I’m not that impressed and I’ve already reached what I think is a fair budget for such a project, so now what? (above image is not their work).

My solution is to learn more about making my own illustrations, logos, and book covers. I’ve dabbled in the past, but figured it’s time to get serious so I enrolled in a course. I questioned whether I could do this, since I haven’t gone to art school, but in this day and age of amazing editing software, and free image libraries, a lot of people are producing their own book illustrations, so why not me?

The above hippo sequence shows how rough the first screenshot is, then how I was able to clean it up.

Here are the steps broken down:

  1. I took a screenshot of an image from a public domain vintage comic book website. See Image 1.
  2. I converted the screenshot (.png file) to a vector graphic (.pdf, then exported it to a .jpg). That gets rid of the rough look in the original image, but creates a new problem; white outlining or places where the color isn’t filled in. See Image2.
  3. I fixed that problem with an editing tool called Pastello (I also experimented with, a free online editing tool, but it didn’t give me as much control over the editing process, but free is free and I think it would have been fine for a different project). See Image 3.


Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 10.18.45 AM

Taken as a screenshot on a MacBook Air




Converted to a vector graphic



sled comic colored pencil 01

Edited using Pastello’s preset, Colored Pencil 01

If you’re wondering about the vibrancy of Image 3, that just happens to be the preset layer that I chose in Pastello. There are a lot to choose from, even black and white that look like pencil drawings.

I still have questions about image sizes because Image 3 still isn’t as good as I think it should be, for uploading to a KDP for example. Should I have converted the vector graphic from a .pdf to a .jpg ? I’ll find out in future lessons.

sledding comic charcoal 02

Pastello’s preset, Pencil 12


Want to Know More?

Let me know if you find this interesting and I will post more of my experiments.



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