Making the eBook

Making the eBook.

I was looking for a way to present two parallel stories — one about a person curious about her genome, and the other about scientific research she wants to learn. Show the wonder, feel the beauty, as well as the perils and potential of the Genome Era.

I wondered, could an illustrated narrative with a science backstory communicate genomic concepts? Present complicated stuff so that it makes sense? Perhaps an interactive story designed as a picture book could appeal to grownups and kids. Would engaging visuals enhance learning — for humans at any age?

The ebook, “We Want Our Genome Story,” asks the reader to test the hypothesis. I started with words and then sketches. Then, how many words on a page? Does each page suggest a scene that I could illustrate? Hundreds of sketches later, words and pictures came together. After redrawing to get the best composition, I made finished drawings with the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator.

The next step was creating backgrounds to add color to the drawings. I used Sennelier extra soft pastels rubbed on Strathmore Bristol paper to lay the foundation for the painterly-feel of the backgrounds. Vibrant color added punch to the scenes as well as softening the crisp lines.

Still, lots to do, like design icons for buttons, make graphics for the science stories, assemble words and pictures in iBook Author software. Shown below are one sketch, some of the pastels, and a composite image from the eBook. 

Read the ebook and see if you agree, there is something beautiful about the science-in-us. And that art and story can communicate complicated stuff.

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