Zara’s Abc look and find

Cover and interior spread.

Filled with hand-drawn type and illustrations, each spread includes 17 or more items to find. Large letters can be traced by curious hands. An experienced reader can pose questions such as: “What starts with the letter ‘Q’ on this page?” A child may recognize, “a queen!” and connect the sound, shape, and word visually. Each spread is filled with many colors, and a solid hue makes up the opposite Letter and Word List page. Serving as a reference guide when children learn to write; it assists with identification of letters and their sounds.  It can be read from beginning to end, or picked up and started from any page.

Sketchbook containing all of the environments and word lists.

This book took me about six months to create, I really enjoyed creating it and I hope that it is fun for both kids and adults. It began with a series of lists for each letter, anything I could think of that would be fun to draw and include. I also gathered inspiration from interior home magazines, and fantasized over the different imaginative environments I could create. I sketched everything out by hand using a pencil and a ruler, in an 11X14 hardbound sketchbook.

Left: Digital sketch drawn in Photoshop. Right: Final version drawn in Procreate.

Then I took all the sketches in and digitized them, drawing over them making clean line work. I used an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Procreate for the coloring stage. It took me over thirty attempts to find a pleasing way to color the pages, I have 30+ versions for the letter, A. I colored in all twenty-six pages, and refined them to include shadows at the end of the process. This phase took me about 2 months. In the middle of this process I began thumbnailing out the possible opposite page layouts. I decided I wanted to include every word, and have large letters in upper and lowercase that would encourage children to recognize the letters immediately, and trace.

Font created for this book.

After coloring was complete, I set to the task of formatting the opposite pages. I started to draw the text by hand, but quickly realized I didn’t like the variation in handwriting. Because the drawings had such clean lines, I wanted something more uniform to complement. I created my first font outside of Art School, and enjoyed the process immensely as it is quite simple, and fun.

Cover of the book, B&N Press sample.

One of the final components was creating the cover of the book. I chose the page “V” because I loved the overall composition.

Finding where to print economically was difficult. I researched printing along the way, but couldn’t find anywhere that would let me print at 11×14 for a somewhat reasonable price. I ended up sizing down to 8×10, and 8×11 for print samples. I tried Blurb, and B&N Press, and absolutely LOVED the quality from Blurb, but the price was a bit outrageous even with a discount. Quick video below.

Copyright 2022, Sandra Graham, All rights reserved.