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The Making of

The artwork for HERE COME THE TICKLE BUGS! was originally sketched out on paper. Unsure of how to color it the way he wanted, Uncle Sillyhead began looking into computer graphic software programs. He chose Adobe Illustrator because of its scalable vector graphics (SVG). Vector graphics are continuous, non-pixelated lines that are generated through a mathematical language. The beauty of these is that you can take any sketch and blow it up to the size of a billboard with the exact same crystal-sharp clarity of the original small image. If you attempted this with pixelated graphics, for instance, using Adobe Photoshop, another great Adobe product, the quality would be terrible. Impressed with these vector graphics, Illustrator became the tool of choice.

After scanning the sketches onto the computer, the job then became to trace the images using Illustrator. This proved to be no easy task. To write and illustrate HERE COME THE TICKLE BUGS!, took only two weeks, including the creation of the characters themselves. Tracing these sketches and finishing the book in Illustrator, however, took six months of grueling work. A lot of this time, of course, was spent actually learning the software.

There were definite advantages to re-doing it in Illustrator. A lot of the imperfections in the original sketches could be fixed and improved. Some of the emotions and personalities captured in the the original sketches were lost in the translation process; on the other hand, many were improved! Overall, it worked out for the best.

During the whole process, Uncle Sillyhead III had a lot of fun playing with the backgrounds and using interesting gradients. As he progressed, they became more complex and interesting.

HERE COME THE TICKLE BUGS! also has some unique and special touches that make it stand apart. For instance, since Sillyhead wanted this to be the most blissful, positive book for kids that he could make, on a spiritual level, he wanted to do it entirely using rainbow colors, and entirely without the color black. He was able to create a color that passes for black even though it's really just a mixture of cyan, yellow, and magenta. Another fun feature of the book is Sparky's die-cut shimmering hair on the cover.

After tons of back-breaking hours, HERE COME THE TICKLE BUGS! was finally ready to print. Through extensive research, Hatcher Press in the Silicon Valley stood out as the most esteemed press in all of Northern California. Since quality was the goal, Hatcher Press was the clear choice.

In the process of creating this 45-page book (graphically 50 pages altogether), Uncle Sillyhead became quite a pro at using this excellent software. HERE COME THE TICKLE BUGS! would have been a very different book without the aid of Adobe Illustrator. It, therefore, comes highly recommended by the silly folks at TickleBugs.com.