Do-It-Yourself Book Figures

Do-It-Yourself Book Figures

by Deborah Tosline

Jack of all trades, master of none. Should we try many things or refine our expertise?

My book, Skin Remodeling – An Introduction to the Underground World of Do-It-Yourself Skin Care has 70 figures. I included them to illustrate the information and because I like them. I did not research the standard number of figures in a 30,000-word nonfiction book, the potential increased costs for publishing with so many figures, or a few other important details before committing to the figures and deciding to make them myself.

Fig3ReteRidge1500x900In my haste and graphic art ignorance, I forged ahead and prepared my figures using the drawing software immediately available to me in Microsoft PowerPoint, only to discover that my figures were insufficient for print or eBook publication. It had taken a year working in my spare time nights and weekends to prepare my drawings and to set up, shoot, and process my photos. Another delay.

I inquired about hiring someone to prepare the figures for me and decided to conserve my funds so that instead I can hire someone to help me with the publishing process. I chose, once again, to make my own figures. I am a former art major-turned-geologist and later received a minor in ceramic sculpture, so I knew I would enjoy the artistic endeavor, although the time delay worried me.

It’s been nerve-wracking trying to make sure I produce the right product this time around. It seems simple, but the requirements have confused me. DPI, PPI, KB, MB, RGB, CMYK. Ugh.

I purchased iDraw to re-creaate my line drawings and Adobe Photoshop Elements to reprocess my photos, only to discover that neither could produce images in the color mode CMYK that I was being asked to produce for print. Looking at the CreateSpace requirements, I think that RGB would be fine. Despite this, I downloaded a one-month trial of PhotoShop and began to learn how to use it in the most rudimentary way.

If you have not seen much of me over the past couple of months, I’ve been forfeiting leisure to get through these 70 figures as quickly as possible. I have missed Meetups, social activities, and rest as I burn the midnight oil learning new software, redrawing 26 line drawings, and reprocessing, cropping, and editing my existing photos. I am rather slow. There is a sense of satisfaction doing my own artwork, but there is also uncertainty. Did I do it correctly this time? Will preparing my own figures be the downfall of my book due to unprofessional artwork? Do I really need to buy the pricy PhotoShop software after my free trial expires? Will I need it?

Fig41AntiAgingActiveIngredientsMy figures seem to be much better the second time around, so that is a benefit. But has it really been worth the effort? Only time will tell. At this point, this effort will have to be one of those things that I learn about from hindsight. Wish me luck!

Deborah Tosline is a hydrogeologist and a lifelong do-it-yourselfer with a penchant for Deborah Toslineresearch and health. This combination of attributes combined with three decades of self-prescribed skin care led Deborah to the underground world of do-it-yourself techniques that can remodel and transform your skin and help you maintain the best skin possible. Much of the information available on skincare Internet forums and in medical journals is now summarized in Deborah’s soon-to-be-published book. At 55, Deborah has pursued a path of healthy living including 27 years of walking 4 miles per day or the equivalent 6 days a week; an 18-year yoga practice; vegetarian for 23 years, pescatarian for 14 years; all organic at home for 24 years; and more. Deborah loves to talk, research, write, live, and share all things health related.

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2 Responses to Do-It-Yourself Book Figures

  1. dharmashanti says:

    You make a great point about balancing between do-it-yourself and hiring a pro. With the introduction of desktop publishing a couple decades ago, so many people decided to do their own graphic design (brochures, websites, book illustrations, etc.) only to end up with less-than-stellar results in the form of amateurish marketing materials and/or poor sales numbers.

    What they didn’t understand is that there is more to graphic and web design than the tools used. Learning how to use the tools and understanding the principles involved is key to learning any new craft whether it be designing a business card or building a house.

    If an entrepreneur can’t afford the time to learn the intricacies of this new craft (and often it’s a significant investment of time as you learned), then maybe it’s best to bite the bullet and shell out the cash for a professional.

    Otherwise, you risk being dismissed as being unprofessional, sloppy and offering something not worth the price.

    Editors, book cover artists and graphic designers earn their keep because they’ve taken the time to learn and hone skills few of us have.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lahseniorwritiers says:

    dharmashanti, thank you for your comment. Seeing my post, I see an error in one of my images, proving the point! Experts are such for a reason!


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