1.Creating artwork with Procreate and ArtRage.
A couple of months after publishing my first ebook in Apple and Amazon platforms, I've been collecting all the steps that went into its creation. It has not been an easy process, but not impossible if you know what your goal is, and what possibilities gives you the format you choose to work. When I started my project, it was clear that I would use iBooks Author to realize it, since Apple was the perfect program to create a picture book that could be enjoyed on a screen of seven to ten inches. The program allowed me a much wider options than those offered by the epub standard layout. Amazon already offers a couple of very specialized applications that also allow the creation of fixed layout epub format, which is very handy for comics and illustrated stories: Comic Creator Kindle and Kindle Children's Book Creator.
But the purpose of this post is not to talk about layout programs, but those that I used to create the illustrations. Although I've tried a lot of design programs, currently I only use two concerning drawing: Procreate and ArtRage.
Like many illustrators, I have long used programs like Photoshop or Corel Draw, more or less illegally. However, time to work in a professional way, using the appropriate program with a corresponding license is required. However, the programs I have mentioned, though popular, are extremely expensive. Also, in my opinion, they are overloaded with options and features, a high percentage of users will never need. Their interfaces are also recharged and are sometimes a little confusing. Bearing this in mind, I decided to look for other options accumulating the three qualities: good, nice and cheap.
Krita, an excellent choice if you do not want to spend money on a paint program.
I tried some free programs and I was pleasantly surprised. But even if they do not lack quality, I have always found a feature missing, but essential for me. Obviously, these programs continue to be updated and improved, so I often come back to give them a chance. A good example of this is Krita, currently an impressive choice for any digital illustrator.
Finally, not to bore you with the long journey through the gardens of the software, I ended up opting for Procreate, to work on the iPad, and Artrage to work on the computer. Procreate is, in my opinion, the ultimate tool for those who want to draw on a screen. Its interface is minimalist, leaving almost the entirely screen tablet to work, but keeping all the necessary options at your fingertips. It's often updated, thus you have guaranteed compatibility with all the stylus coming to market, and this is the best application for using them. Despite its apparent simplicity, the software hide in its core, a graphics engine letting you paint fluidly and with outstanding quality, without losing performance, even using a lot of layers. There are a very good amount of brushes of all kinds, fully functional and also you can customize with a good assortment of modifiable parameters.
A good amount of options to customize and create your own brushes.
As for the size of the canvas, you will find all the variations you need, including predefined preset of a A4 canvas or a 4K canvas. To work on the ebook's illustrations, I've always chosen the size for retina display, which assured me the perfect compatibility to incorporate them later in Ibooks Author. Another two great advantage are its selection and transformation tools. Once you try, you'll miss them when you work on the computer and you finish for asking yourself, why if it's possible do it so well, all the other programs can't do it in the same way. You can use them separately or combine them, just activating the corresponding button on the top bar. Using both of them doesn't decrease the performance of the machine.
Finally, the program has an excellent manual, which you can download for free from the iBooks store. To view the workflow with this versatile tool, in my youtube channel you can see in video the development of a couple of illustrations.