My book came in today!
Considering I ordered it on Sunday, I’m really surprised it got here so quickly, even with expedited shipping (since expedited shipping doesn’t mean expedited printing). I kind of wonder if I could have gotten away with just getting ground shipping, but whatever, it’s here with time to spare, and I don’t regret paying extra for it.
And the book looks awesome!
The cover is thick and glossy and the colors and texture came out great. Seriously, since the original is pretty much the same size as the final, a side-by-side comparison proves they’re almost identical. The only differences are basically what I edited in digitally.
I keep looking at the smudges of white gouache near my name — they look like they’re smudges of actual gouache on the cover!
It’s only 45 pages total with 40 pages of comics (and an extra illustration), so it isn’t very thick, but it meets Lulu’s minimum page count (32) for perfect bound, so it still looks like a real book, haha.
Back cover isn’t terribly fancy. The original plan was to do a wrap-around cover, but that ended up being more complicated than I wanted, so I just did this instead. I think it worked out okay; it doesn’t clash, at least. Besides, wrap-around covers work better when the book is (much) thicker.
Interior colors are very accurate for the post part. I lost a lot of the saturation when I converted from RGB to CMYK, so this reflects that, but otherwise, it’s pretty spot on. I also lost some of my more subtle color gradations and lighting in the conversion, so I think some of the shadows look weird, but it’s not that big a deal.
Even though Lulu provides page templates that include the trim and bleed margins, it didn’t take into account the folds of a book. I think some of the panels could have been scooted outwards a bit to accommodate that, especially since the bleedless pages have a significant amount of margin space. Nothing super important is lost in the gap though, so it isn’t detrimental to the storytelling that some of the images are caught in the fold.
I was worried about some of the later pages being too dark, but they turned out fine — lighter than I intended, even. The pages above had a few issues where my fuzzy spots aren’t as soft as they were supposed to be — they kind of look like when you drop water on a freshly printed color page: it kind of bleeds around the edges. There’s also a weird stripe of green near the horizon on the second page above. Not sure if that was caused by my excessive gradients or lighting overlays?
Most of these little details are probably things only I’d notice though. For the most part, the pages turned out as I wanted. Along with the fact that none of the pages are too dark, I’m also really happy with how all the bleed panels look. I was a little worried about them just because there are so many of them (28 of the 40 pages have bleed panels), but they look fine. It isn’t too much at all and the color scheming between side-by-side pages works out pretty well also.
So yeah! After I fix a few minor issues, I’ll probably order a small batch and see if I can sell some at conventions. Since the physical book is a little costly though, I’ll probably also offer a high quality PDF version to download for cheaper.
By the way, I also found these scans from forever ago that I never shared. These are some of my initial sketches and thumbnails for this project. It went from the below to the above in about nine weeks. c:
I had initially toyed around with the idea of doing a “serious” unicorn story. I still might someday eventually, but I decided I needed to work on equine anatomy a lot more before tackling something like that. Besides, doing a derpy, silly story would be more fun. It’s hard to take yourself or your story seriously after a while. Especially if it involves unicorns.
My thumbnails for pages after I decided to do a sequel to Sunflowers and Rainbows. Originally, the story was 46 pages thumbed and was a bit more complicated. Since I have no dialogue, clarity was a huge issue and the complicated parts were kind of confusing. When I penciled the pages from the thumbs, I condensed as I went and ended up axing most of the complex stuff, streamlining it down to an even 40, which was my page count goal to begin with.
I didn’t spend a lot of time on character design since I’d used both Rarukyo and Dicorn Boy before. I probably should have though. Rarukyo especially tends to go through small changes between projects and I could probably stand to be a bit more consistent with how I draw him. Even on this page, he’s kind of all over the place. Also, apparently, all of my characters in this comic are androgynous (even the mermaids??). I am okay with this though!
(PS — So hey, who wants to buy a book from me?)