4.6 Self-publishing

The purpose of this exercise was to explore developing a self published book.

Key words from the brief:

  • Develop a small self-published book based on an idea from your sketchbooks. Produce a small photocopied fanzine or a one-off artist’s book
  • Look at your sketchbooks for ideas of work that could be developed into a self-contained narrative or collected together to form a publication
  • How would you title your work and how does this title feed back into the development of your idea?
  • What sort of audience do you think would be interested in your work?

Elevator pitch

I’ve made a small self-published book that contains at least one sketch-a-day for 1-month. What’s interesting about it is that the concept is really simple to understand, the drawings are interesting and varied and it is an experience that people can share in.

The booklet will be used for self-promotion in the same way as a portfolio of work.

It is likely that the content will be reused in different formats.

Design and publication

Creating the content

In January 2020 I committed to drawing at least one sketch a day, every day, for one-month.

The rules I set myself were:

  • The drawing had to be made on the day and posted to Instagram;
  • the drawing should be observational; and
  • most importantly this was to happen every day ‘warts-and-all’.

In order to provide context and more interest in the work I created a paragraph of text to go alongside each image. A subset of this was used alongside the Instagram posts.

The experience and just doing the work was incredibly rewarding and I learned a lot.

I posted the work to my Instagram account here.


The self-published book was created using InDesign – I spent the time to learn a bit about how to use this application. Now I understand the principles I can use this for future assignments.

Once the page template was set-up the booklet really made itself. I counted seven different page layout variations, and once these design patterns had been established doing the actual work was quite mechanical.

The front cover image naturally came from once of the self-portrait sketches and the title describes the content and the challenge.

Cover image correction

The PDF version of the document has 42-pages which is the fewest I felt I could get away with to keep the filesize down. I realise that if this was going to print the page could would need to be a multiple of 4 and all the colour setting would be based on CMYK not RGB.

What sort of audience do you think would be interested in your work?

The audience for this is pretty narrow and will probably be mostly driven by related blog and social media posts.


You can download a PDF of the booklet here: 31 Days 54 sketches. (13MB)

Or you can browse the images in a blog format here.

At the time of writing I’m going to write up a blog of the sketch-a-day experience a submit this to #weareoca for publication.

I’m also thinking about way of publishing a Linkedin article which would be a really interesting way of showcasing my illustration skills to a broad audience.


What went well

  • The experience of creating the content was hugely rewarding and beneficial in terms of developing my own skills and experimenting with new/different materials, subjects and approaches.
  • It was great to get life drawing again.
  • The sketch-a-day project was a really quick way to build up quite a body of work that will double up for a type of portfolio.
  • Learning to use InDesign was really useful, surprisingly easy and something I should have done a while ago.



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