Again, I thought... I only need to make ONE and then just make copies for all of them!
First, I had to get photos of the kids. What's so great about my family (on both sides) is that there seem to be some pretty great photographers! This does make it easy to get a hold of great, artsy photos that are "in action" as opposed to all staged. Thanks to Bess Williams, one of my sisters-in-law, I was able to grab a few really great close-up photos she had taken of the kids.
Remember that coloring book project I did with my students when I was student teaching the computer art class? Well, I approached this project in a very similar fashion. I used the photos I had, placed them into an illustrator page, templated that layer, and then drew the images on a separate layer.
One thing that is great about just doing this type of drawing is that you don't have to have any connected shapes (since I wasn't filling anything). So I could just click, click, click away.
The devil is in the...
A tricky situation is making sure that the people really do look like themselves in cartoon form. I did turn on and off the template layer a bunch as I went along to make sure the lines made sense in this simplified flat format.
This process took more time that anticipated with less pages than I had originally wanted. This is probably more likely because I am a bit of a perfectionist, and so I kept on adding and adding and adding more detail.
There are a few ways that I had in mind to finish up and bind the pages of the coloring book. On the previous books, I had put two images per page, and then folded the book and stapled the middle crease. For this one, I wanted the images to be "full" size (in this case they are about 7.5" x 9.5"). So I thought about having them bound by Kinkos (or the like) using that binding tape on the end.
Instead, I ended up printing the pages from my ink jet, and binding them using a 3-hole-punch and brass tabs. Not the prettiest of closures, but for the first coloring books, I think it is fine. The nice part about it being brass tabs, is that I can always draw up new pages and punch and send them... and the coloring books can just have added pages, like an ever-growing book. I also can keep printing off the whole book of pages, so the kids always have more (and the same) pages to color (differently). Ideally, I'd like to add pages of the aunts, uncles, and other extended family members. For now, the cousins get to know the cousins.