All posts in Question/Answer

Words of Wisdom-Will Terry-Advice for Illustrators


Will Terry is a ridiculously huge attribute to the Children’s Illustration market. He continues to go out of his way to help others within our community and answer questions that up and coming illustrators have about our industry. In the following video he answers a number of questions he’s received from illustrators. So sit back, relax and enjoy. You are sure to learn something new!
Original post here.

Publishing Children’s e-Books Infographic

While surfing the web I found this infographic about publishing children’s e-books. This info graphic has some interesting facts about the e-book market that can help you make an informed decision when you’re getting ready to publish your e-book. Did you know that parents are twice as likely to buy your e-book on Amazon’s store as opposed to apples. Check out the graphic below to get more interesting tidbits like that.
I found this graphic on KiteReaders. KiteReaders is a publishing platform for authors and publishers to produce, distribute and market their children’s picture books on various mobile devices. If their services sound interesting to you check out their work at


Once Upon a Sketch Podcast Episode 5 – Conversation with Adobe about Creative Cloud


Last month on our podcast we had a roundtable conversation about Adobes new subscription model and it turns out that Adobe was listening. We got the chance to speak with Terry Hemphill a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe. He heard our Conversation and approached us with the intent to speak with us about some of the confusion and concern regarding Creative Cloud. At first we were a little skeptical about speaking with a representative from Adobe. We were afraid that it might just be a long pitch for their products but we found Terry to be very open and honest with his answers. Before we spoke with Terry we put out a request for questions that, if you had the chance, would want to ask Adobe about creative cloud and we got a lot of great responses. Here are a few of the questions we asked him. Thanks for your input;

  • Why ONLY the subscription model rather than allowing for a perpetual license?
  • Why is the cloud subscription model better for me as a customer and as an illustrator?
  • What would you suggest young freelance artists or students do if they cannot afford to pay a monthly fee?
  • If you sign a one-year contract with Adobe and have to end it early what is the penalty?
  • If your customers are paying you month to month what incentive is there for you to upgrade your products competitively?
  • Has the outcry from the community at all affected Adobe’s plans for Creative Cloud?

We certainly got to ask him a lot more but those are just a handful of the questions we asked. Give a listen to the whole conversation to hear everything we talked about.


Once Upon a Sketch Podcast Episode 4 – Roundtable Adobe’s Big Switch

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud VS Creative Suite (Infographic)

Alternatives to Using the Adobe Creative Suite

Adobe announces plan to switch to subscription service

Creative Cloud Team Blog

Creative Cloud Forums

Adobe Ideas

Audio Version of the podcast or listen on iTunes

Questions for Adobe! What would you ask?


Hello Readers!

Norm and I recently hosted a roundtable podcast discussion about the changes with Adobe and Creative Cloud.

Well, we were contacted by Adobe and it looks like we’ll be getting the opportunity to interview one of their reps. We’ll be asking the questions you’ve wanted answers to. So we are soliciting that our readers send us the questions they would like us to ask during this interview. We’ll choose a selection of questions to use from your submissions. All questions submitted are not guaranteed to be asked during the interview.

Feel free to post your questions in the comments or send us an email. Also let us know if it’s ok for us to use your name when we ask the question.

The interview will hopefully be the next podcast we post. The deadline for question submission is this coming Wednesday, June 26. 2013.

Thanks so much and we look forward to reviewing your submitted questions!
-Norm and Wilson

Previous Posts dealing with this issue:

Adobe Creative Cloud Roundtable Podcast Discussion

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud VS Creative Suite (Infographic)

Alternatives to Using the Adobe Creative Suite

Adobe announces plan to switch to subscription service

Please check the Adobe FAQ page for answers to your questions that may already be answered.
We don’t want to ask too many questions that the answers to which are already available online.

Improving Your Facebook FanPage


Once you’ve set up your Facebook fan page you might think you’re done but there’s still a lot more work to do. You may get a few Likes at first but the goal here is to continue gaining momentum and continuing to spread the word.


Spreading the word
Now that your fan page is set up Facebook walks you through a few steps. First thing Facebook Highlights is the “Like” button. Liking your fan page shares the “Like” with your other Facebook account’s timeline. Which starts the process of building support for your fan page. It spreads the word to all of your other accounts friends. Another option Facebook gives you is emailing your friends to let them know about your new fan page. Whichever way you like to spread the word, do it. Sadly, for most of us the only people that will spread the word for you is you and your mom, so it’s on you to spread the word about your art. Don’t forget to add a Facebook like button on your blog and webpage. Join art related Facebook groups and share your page with them. And finally, “Like” other artist’s fan pages. You never know they may like you back.


Paying Facebook to spread the word for you
Facebook does offer a service that for a fee they will get viewers to your page by advertising your posts or your page. When you run your ad or sponsored story on Facebook, they only charge you for the number of clicks you receive. When I set up my fan page I was shown a drop-down with 4 pricing options. Each were on a per day basis and ranged from $5 to $20 a day. The amount that you pay will never be more than your daily or lifetime budget and there are no additional fees associated with running ads or sponsored stories on Facebook. The larger your budget, the more people a campaign is likely to reach. Personally as an artist my budget for advertising is very low so I did not choose any of these options. I certainly don’t want to dissuade anyone from using this service so if you’re interested this option can be found in the admin panel which we will talk about in a little bit.


Cover Image
Next, I created a cover image in PhotoShop and uploaded it. I would suggest creating an image that highlights some of your work and says what the page is about. Once you’ve created this image or just want to move forward with an existing image click the “Add a cover” button found in the lower right-hand corner where the cover page image will appear. Now click on “Upload Photo.” Upload the banner image you’ve selected. Adjust the image’s placement and click save changes. Wilson Wiliams made a wonderful template for the cover photo showing you the live area. Check it out. Continue reading

5 Steps to Setting up a Facebook Fan Page


This week on Once Upon a Sketch we are going to talk about setting up a Facebook fan page. Wilson and I recently both set up fan pages and we’re going to share everything we learned with you. It’s not a difficult process but it’s always nice to have someone to help you through it. Here we go.


1. Log into Facebook. If you don’t already have an account you’ll need to create one to make a fan page.


2. Once you’re logged in, click on the gear in the top right corner of your page. Now click “Advertising.”

fbfp0013. Then you should be on a page titled “Advertise on Facebook”. Below this title you should see three steps. The one you’re looking for is “Step 1: Build your Facebook Page”. In the text under step one you will find a link that says “Create a Page”. Click on that link. Continue reading

Mike Krahulik Test Drive’s the Microsoft Surface Pro as a Drawing Tablet

Like most digital artists Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade fame had been looking for ways to do his drawings on the go. He tried an iPad and that just didn’t work for what he was trying to do. Next he gave the Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet a shot at one of the MS stores. After giving it a test drive he mentioned on Twitter that he was interested in the Surface Pro as a drawing tablet. Microsoft provided a preview unit for him to test out and he made this video of him creating a drawing of one of the Penny arcade characters.

I personally have been looking for a mobile drawing solution and would love to find a great product to draw on. Krahulik said of the Surface Pro, “As a mobile solution for a digital artist I’d say the Surface Pro is a winner.” This is the second artist I’ve heard give their endorsement of this product. I first got excited about the Surface Pro when I heard that MS was using Wacom tech in their screens. One of the main drawbacks he ran into was Photoshop not supporting pressure sensitivity (at this point). So Krahulik used sketchbook Pro to complete his illustration. Sketchbook Pro and Manga studio five have pressure sensitivity available for the Surface Pro. Mike also said “Sketching with the Stylus in Sketchbook was awesome. It’s important to note that you CAN lay your hand on the screen while you draw without messing up your work. There was no brush lag at all and the pressure sensitivity worked perfectly. The stylus itself felt exactly like drawing on my Cintiq except that the Surface screen is smooth whereas the Cintiq screen has a bit of texture to it.” Being a Sketchbook Pro user this certainly has me excited. And trying to figure out how to trade in my iPad for a Surface Pro tablet.

Read his full article on penny arcades site.

Portfolio Tips-A video by Midsout SCBWI


This is a great little video that I ran across from MidSouth SBWI that goes through the do’s and don’ts  of what to put in your Children’s book portfolio.  We often forget those standards and we thought it a good idea to put up a quick reminder to the folks who have been doing this a while as well as the ones just starting. Always keep an eye on your portfolio and make sure it’s in tip top shape for an Art Director’s eyes.

Also note all the great work being featured in the video! Including the work of OnceUponASketch contributor Mary Reaves Uhles!

Guest Post-Will Terry-Children’s Book Publishing In A Nutshell


Today we feature a post from Will Terry’s Blog that demistifies getting your book published.  The quicker you get to reality, the more realistic your approach will be to breaking in and the more solid your resolve should be.

Will Terry is an accomplished Illustrator and teacher whose work and contributions to the collective intelligence of the Children’s Book illustrator community is monstrous. Don’t believe me, take some time to peruse his blog and multiple videos that deal with multiple issues for up and coming Illustrators.

The original post is here.

I am often asked, “How can I get my story in front of an editor?” I’ve always tried to answer as best I can without spending too much time on any one email – but in order to tell the story I really needed to spend a little more time. Now I’ll be able to send this link!

Teeny tiny fantasy nutshell version:

You write a story – send it to a publisher – they like it – they hire an illustrator – your book is published – you earn enough money to buy a small island – the end.

Regular sized nutshell version:

An author writes a story instead of watching TV, reading a book, or hanging out with friends. He/she submits it to multiple publishers one at a time with a SASE. Rejection letters come one by one over X amount of time and they are kept in a binder by the author for score keeping. If the author is serious he/she is writing and submitting other stories while waiting for the rejection letter on the first story.

If the writer is un-agented the publisher probably won’t open the manuscript – or they will open it and send it right back with a form letter stating that they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. If the writer is agented or if the writer attended an SCBWI conference and received publisher submission stickers to put on the package the interns will open the package, read your story, and decide if they like it..

Interns you ask? What the? Yes – the sheer number of submissions is impractical for editors to go through. The interns are instructed to pass along anything they really like. If yours gets passed up to an editor they might read it…hopefully nobody walks into the editors office, phone doesn’t ring, or coffee isn’t spilled while your story is having it’s big moment with the editor.

If they like it they might do a little research to see if there is anything else out there like it. They don’t want to publish a book that’s just like someone else’s –  unless someone else’s book did really well and then your book is exactly what they’re looking for.  If the research goes well they might contact you via email or phone to ask if you’ve submitted it to any other house. If you answer yes they might pass on it right then and there. The reasons would take many paragraphs to explain but if they love it more than their mother they might still be interested.

They might also pass on it if they don’t have room to publish any more books that year- even if it’s the best manuscript they’ve ever read. They might pass on it if books in your genre aren’t “hot” right now. There are an additional 100 reasons why the editor might love your book but send you a rejection letter. You will probably never know the real reason your manuscript is rejected. Sometimes the editors heart is broken over this.

They might ask you to make changes. This means they REALLY like it. Some unpublished authors are resistant to making these changes. This attitude will help them remain unpublished. If the author makes the changes they might take it to an acquisitions meeting. This is the meeting where the other editors are supposed to figure out reasons why they should NOT publish it. This is a safeguard to prevent dumb stuff from being published – so much for safeguards. If the other editors can’t think of good reasons that your manuscript is bad they might decide to send it to the marketing team. The marketing team is supposed to find better reasons why your book is dumb and why it should not be published. If the sales team can’t come up with any good reasons why your book will sink the company they might invent some. This is where the editors and marketing people fight over your book. This is where you wish you could be a fly on the wall.

Continue reading

Guest Post-Yvonne Herbst-How to Write a Children’s E-Book, Part 3


The road to publication had broadened for many writers and illustrators with the advent of e-books. But the process can be confusing to many. Where to start? What to do? How do you do it?

Well we feel the best way to learn is through the experiences of others. So join us as Writer/Illustrator Yvonne Herbst walks us through the third part of her journey to self publication! Learn from her journey and incorporate what you can into yours.

How to Write a Children’s E-book-Part 1
How to Write a Children’s E-book-Part 2



In part 2 of  describing my journey to publish my first children’s picture book  I submitted my book to Bookbaby to be published by them to iBooks. I did this largely because it was cheaper. It cost $125 for the required ISBN number for iBooks or I could get my book submitted and an ISBN number assigned by Bookbaby for $118.  Now I am waiting for it to be accepted by iBooks.

In the meantime I wanted to also get my book on Barns and Noble and Amazon. I found a lot of info on how others have done so but most of them were speaking about chapter books not picture books.

Julie Olson (found via Will Terry) described on her blog how she published to Amazon. She was successful and I really appreciate the time she took to describer her process. Unfortunately I do not have the programs that she used to publish to Amazon. She used programs like Adobe InDesign and Adobe Acrobat. Financially,  I needed to figure out how to do it on my own without spending a lot of money on additional programs.

I already have an .epub file and a .pdf file generated by the BookCreator app. (See part 1 and part 2 of my journey.) So I thought,  I’ll just fill out the applications on BN and Amazon and upload my .epub file and see what happens in the preview.

I did and my book did not read at all. Something was obviously not compatible with the kindle and the nook.

Next I opened a Microsoft Word document and added my pictures to create a .doc file. I did this  because Barnes and Nobles  said they accept and convert those. Well, that was a no go too in the preview.

On this site I found a program called Calibre. It is really nifty and converts ebook files into all sorts of readable formats including from a .doc into an .epub. I took my .doc and converted it into an .epub and uploaded it to BN and again, it was a no go. The file still did not read in the nook preview and the same happened on Amazon. I honestly was at a loss!

Then I came across a kindle ebook. It is called: Formatting Comics for Kindle and Nook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Images and Ebooks (Formatting Ebooks)

Hallelujah ! It comes with XHTML templates!! Because I realized no matter what you need to “futz” around with XTHML or it is a no go for your children’s picture book.

First I formatted my pictures to this size for the Nook, 768×1024 pixels. Luckily I did not have to adjust too much! Then I added the text into the layers of my images. (In Book Creator this is done separate within the app.  So I had to add this step.)

Next you open the template given for the BN Nook. On a MAC you have to edit the code in Text Edit.

I had to fix some things to be able to use my version of Text Edit. It was very frustrating. I had to figure out why, now that I had a template, I could still not edit it! Have I mentioned that I am NOT computer smart?
After a couple of angry and tearful outbursts, I found out that the files in the template were set to open in Safari only. So I right clicked on each file and set them to open in Text Edit. Finally, I was set to go!

Make totally sure you name your images the way the book tells you to or they won’t read. Just go slow and edit step by step, following the given instructions.

In the end you can go to the EPUB Validator and see if your .epub file has errors in it before you download your .epub to publishing sites. Very handy!
As it turned out, after all my work and using the template, my .epub file DID still have some errors. I seriously had lost 80% of my hair by then.
And guess what?  I actually found a MISTAKE in the template for BN Nook! It is in the toc.ncx file.


I fixed the mistake and my new .epub file for Nook was verified and it was successfully uploaded to BN.

Next, I started to work on my file for the Amazon  Kindle.

I should have used the template for Amazon Kindle first because that one was a piece of cake after working with the template for Nook. In the book they suggest you change the picture format to 525×649 pixels. But I used the same image size as suggested for Nook, 768×1024 and they read just fine. (all 72 dpi by the way. You don’t  need the images any larger and you don’t want your files to get too big.)

I know I got a bit long winded here with my 3 part account, but I wanted to show that this process was hard and frustrating for someone who had no idea  how to go about it. Many people on the internet make it sound so easy and it totally isn’t! Publishing a children’s picture book is much more difficult than publishing a text book and you honestly cannot find a simple way because there isn’t one.

So to sum it up, use the ebook I found! The templates saved my sanity in the end. Don’t give up when it get’s hard. If I can do it without any computer knowledge, you can too! Best of luck!

Find my book “Pigs Cannot Drive a Tractor!” on Amazon for Kindle (or the kindle app for ipad) and also on Barns and Noble, for NOOK readers!

How to Write a Children’s E-book-Part 1
How to Write a Children’s E-book-Part 2

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