We love clever ideas. And in our book (sorry, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves), making a custom alphabet book for your child (or someone else’s children, whatever works for you) is pretty clever. You don’t have to be an artist or a photographer—like the couple we’ve profiled here—to make a children’s book (and even an ebook). All you have to do is let yourself be a kid again, and tap into that wellspring creativity, freedom, imagination, and wonder.
Blurb: Can you share a little bit about you and Steve?
Briana: Currently Steve is a professional photographer, both for private clients and as the East Bay Express staff photographer. I teach photography and AP art at a local high school as well as doing graphic design for the school. We have a one-year old-daughter, Jane.
Blurb: What gave you the idea for the alphabet and numbers project?
Briana: After finishing a quilt for Jane, I still felt like I wanted to make something for her before she was born, and this time I figured I would draw something. My background is mostly in comic books and illustration, so I thought an alphabet book would be useful and fun to work on. Steve was jealous while I worked on the alphabet project so he decided to make a numbers poster.
Blurb: What’s your creative process like?
Briana:Usually I don’t plan out my comics, I just write the story as I draw. But for this I did a lot more prep work. I thought of several possible ideas for each letter and tried to get a variety of people, foods, places, etc. I did one practice sketch for each in a sketchbook, then I gridded out the final paper and penciled in my works and water-colored and inked it.
Some of the ideas for Steve’s numbers poster came to him right away (pair of pears, the tines of a fork, etc.). Then he scouted out the best place to take the photo or got the best version of the object. For example, we had our friend come over and hand make the mini donuts just for this project.
Blurb: What’s your favorite letter in the project?
Briana: I would have to say “A” is my favorite because I got to draw an art gallery and curate it with some of my favorite painters throughout history. I put Steve and Jane as some of the viewers (or how I imagine they will be in a couple years). Steve says I should say “D” is my favorite because it is a drawing of him and is “D” for daddy. It was hard to pick, but Steve’s favorite number photo is the guitar strings. He plays guitar for Jane a lot, and that makes it extra special.
Blurb: What’s your next creative project?
Briana:I make a yearly calendar with another comics friend. In past years we have done calendars of presidents and first ladies. This year we might do presidential pets. Steve just built a [photo booth] that he rents out and is continuing work on that for right now.
Get more tips on how to make a children’s book in this week’s newsletter.