Always feels like there should be bells ringing or something when a big project is finished...

I just - quietly - ate a piece of carrot cake.

But I know you all will understand the momentous-ness of this momentous occasion, so here are the behind-the-scenes details...

I've shown you some of what I was drawing for the inside of the book, the cover was the last thing I worked on this week before scanning it all.

I had found an old image online of a title page from "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (below, top) - I used that as my reference, and redrew it all with my book's title "The Fright Before Christmas" and my wolf-Santa (St. Nick).

This image shows the inspirational image and the start of my inked version. (I used a Papermate ballpoint pen for all the art).

I turned most of the holly into bats, and shaded the lettering...

I love that the ballpoint pen actually looks like the old engraving! Here's the completed artwork.

I scanned it, and used my new Photoshop skills to apply "Multiply" and "Overlay" layers so the color of the old book cover shows through the art. I had everything looking good and noticed, at the last second... that I'd forgotten the "H" in "Bartholomew". EEEEEEERGH.

The cover just barely fit on an 8.5x 11 and it only works because I have to trim the whole book on all the edges anyway. In an ideal world, the book would print a tiny bit wider. But the cover alone is 60 cents, not counting paper. (Multiply by the 20 copies required for mini-thesis.... PLUS the interior pages... Agh.) ANYWAY. Here's the printed cover (it's double sided).

And here is a stack of the uncut "guts" (interior pages)...

I used the same art as for the front cover, but replaced the inner image with one that continues into the story panels. I made a sandwich pile of the pages and the cover, and put them into the huge, scary, guillotine paper cutting machine. Very stressful, but pretty cool. I realized I should have brought my camera and taken some pics to show you! Sorry about that. After trimming the huge stack along the tops and bottoms, so they were 5.5" tall strips - I folded them, saddle stitched them (fancy name for the stapler machine), and then trimmed off the uneven edges. It took a few hours.

And here is my pile of finished mini-thesis/final project books!!!!

Yeah! Carrot cake!

Of course... I'd love to either - get this book published by a "real" kids' book publisher or - publish it myself with nicer paper and a harder cover. I'd cover the stapled spine with red book cloth or paper so it looks more authentic.

I hope to have a bunch of these to sell for Kids Con this summer, but for now, I needed 20 excellent copies for Final Crit - which is on Tuesday. I will let you know how that goes.

Now I need a few days of really good sleep, proper diet. Some exercise would be good too...