Finished my second custom storybook! Crazy. I made this for a super sweet girl named Tiffany for her soon-to-be-husband Mike’s wedding gift. Tiffany is actually a long-time supporter of mine (from buying prints in the shop to custom drawings for her friend’s wedding), and after this process I feel like we’re friends even though we’ve never met in person 🙂
During the initial brainstorming phase, it came out that Mike is a big video game aficionado. I grew up watching my brother play video games (and sometimes I’d get to play lol) so it’s a huge nostalgic genre for me. J and I also bond over well-designed modern video games (Journey, Ori and the Blind Forest) so it’s still a big inspiration source for me today.
I proposed telling their relationship story through videogame tropes, complete with a character builder, fight scene, evil villain, everything. Might sound strange to many people, but thankfully Tiffany was totally on board. I love working with people who trust me 😀
I definitely took my drawing skills to their current max (still working hard at it, and probably always will be), and it was rewarding to see the progress. It was a TON of work but I had a blast writing, illustrating and designing it. I guess that’s how work should be, in my ideal world 🙂 So here’s the story and all the little hidden tidbits. I hope you like it!
here’s a slideshow of the full book if you’re not interested in the details 🙂
A Quick Peek in to Process
A lot of prep work goes into the storybook process, long before coloring even begins. Here are a few screenshots of the decks I’d put together for Tiffany to review the storyboard, text, and coloring. You’ll see even until the end there were some color tweaks, but overall it really stayed close to the original storyboard. It was often the details that took me forever to iron out!
In case you’re curious, I explain the general process from idea to words to storyboard to color on my site (toward the bottom) here.
Proud of that color transition tho 🙂
Some Final Thoughts
So that’s it! Thanks so much for reading. These stories really mean a lot to me. I remember maybe two years ago, before I was really illustrating, I told someone that a dream of mine would be to write and draw picture books. I said it in the way people talk about their pipe dreams that they think will never come true. Plus, at the time, I thought only children’s books were an option. I wasn’t sure if my style and taste would suit that. To this day, I did not know and do not know anyone who makes custom picture books for adults. It just kind of happened. Without me realizing it right away, I was working towards my dream.
I have a couple more of these in the works but I also am working on my own stories. I’m hoping to find time to focus on them next year. These custom books have definitely helped me solidify my process, style, and what I find important in a story. I can’t wait to do more.
So yeah, for those of you uncertain of what your true calling or passion is, or how you’ll ever get there, don’t worry about it so much (ok worry, but don’t let it stop you! To be fair I worry all the time but I try to let it be a motivator rather than a paralyzer). Just know it’s out there. Maybe it hasn’t been created yet, maybe YOU need to create it. You’ll never know how you’ll get to your dream stations in life. You just have to set out in the direction you think is best, and go for it with a smile on your face.