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
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.