You might want to try out Affinity Designer (which is similar to Adobe Illustrator). https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/designer/
With Designer, you can create vector shapes, and apply raster textures or brushes.
"Switch between full featured vector and raster workspaces ... Add raster brush texture to your illustrations, ... mask and add grain to your crisp vectors"
I can't remember for sure (since I have both), but you might need to get Affinity Photo as well as Affinity Designer in order to use the raster features in Designer.
I was very excited when I saw that you can work with vector & raster in the same program. I'm just a beginner with this, but you can check out their website for examples.
At the website above, scroll down to "Vector or raster, you decide" & you can toggle the raster effects on & off to see the difference on a vector illustration.
Here's a short demo video that shows how you can paint raster images, or apply a raster texture to a vector shape in Designer: https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/tutorials/designer/desktop/video/338830412/
Affinity can export as (save as) all the major file types, including .psd — I haven't personally tried sending a .psd file to someone who uses Photoshop, so I can't vouch for it, but I really like the Affinity programs.
Since @RachelArmington already replied with some good answers, I'm just going to add to what she said.
While KDP's offer of the free "use one of our ISBNs!" is tempting -- it's really not something I'd recommend. This is what KDP says about their free ISBN: "The free ISBN from KDP can only be used on KDP for distribution to Amazon and its distributors. It cannot be used with another publisher or self-publishing service." (Direct quote taken from the KDP website.) So if you use a KDP ISBN, you're agreeing only to print and distribute your book exclusively through KDP, for the entirety of the time you use that ISBN. Amazon owns that ISBN, meaning that while you own the copyright to the book, Amazon owns the distribution rights to that ISBN. Using the free ISBN would work for you only if you expect that this book will be the only book you ever publish, that you don't anticipate ever wanting to print or distribute it elsewhere, and if you don't expect the book will sell well. That includes bookstores, libraries, or other brick-and-mortar stores, most of whom will not put an Amazon-printed book on their shelves.
(This might really be 1b.) Another reason not to use the free KDP-provided ISBN comes from the Nonfiction Author's Association: "Some of the print-on-demand services offer free ISBNs, which sounds easy and appealing if you’re trying to keep costs down. However, when you register your book under a free ISBN, it then puts your book on record as being published by the entity that provided the ISBN. This is a common rookie mistake." In other words, KDP would list itself as the publisher of your book, since they provided the ISBN -- but YOU are the publisher of your book, since you're self-publishing. You want to make sure that you are clearly listed as the publisher of record.
Yes, as Rachel said, IngramSpark has recently begun offering free ISBNs to US-based self-publishers. But here's an interesting tidbit direct from IngramSpark: they don't recommend it. Here's what they have to say on their FAQ: "An ISBN is an expense many self-published authors are confused about. If you use a free ISBN with IngramSpark, your publisher imprint will not be associated with your book—it will hold IngramSpark’s imprint, Indy Pub. It may also limit where you can print and distribute your own title. At IngramSpark, we believe it's in your best interest to be recognized as the owner of your work and a publisher in your own right, which is why we encourage publishers to purchase their own ISBNs. You can read more about ISBNs and the benefits of purchasing your own here."
Your book could be picked up by a publisher after it's been self-published. But as Rachel said, it's rare. Don't expect this to happen, even if your book is great. Why? First and foremost, a traditional publisher is a business. They make decisions on which book to publish based on how well they think it will sell. Most self-published books don't sell well. So in the traditional publisher's eyes, if a book has a proven track record of not selling, why would they take that gamble? On the flip side, if a self-published book does sell well, the traditional publisher may be concerned that the author has done such a good job of marketing, they have already saturated the market so the publisher may not be able to expect strong sales if they decide to pick up the book.
But like they said on Reading Rainbow: don't just take my word for it. You should definitely research all of this yourself and learn all you can about self-publishing before jumping in and publishing your own book. It might be a good fit for you, it might not -- and only you will be able to determine that.
If you're overwhelmed with all there is to learn, here are a few places to start:
SCBWI -- mentioned them before and will mention again because they're a wealth of information. Membership is around $80 or so a year and with that comes access to webinars, networking with peers (especially within your region), and The Book. The Book alone is, to me, worth the price of membership. This fall, there is also going to be a special edition of The Book just for self-publishers (I'm really looking forward to that!).
The Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market -- this book is updated every year and contains articles about writing for children and the children's book industry. You can preorder the newest edition, which comes out in October.
ALLi (the Alliance of Independent Authors) -- Note: if you're a member of SCBWI, they have teamed with ALLi to provide self-publishing information and advice for the children's book market, so you may not need to join ALLi. ALLi does have great articles and has researched reputable services to help serve and protect the independent author community.
Hope this helps! And if you have any questions, please ask. ❤️
Hi everyone! My name is Elena, I have just recently moved to San Francisco and I am looking for other illustrator fellows to work together/draw/share experiences. In IL we had a monthly SCBWI illustrators meetings, which was a tremendous help for staying on track (thanks Rich Green!). I found something similar to this here, but not in the city.
I guess what I am looking for is to learn about other illustrators moving to a new city and keeping connections with work/friendships etc.
@AnnaDaviscourt Thanks for taking the time to do such a lovely introduction. I enjoy your work-and starting checking it out after Lee's shout-out. I'm interested in your character class--I think it might be a good fit for me this summer. I'm pretty new to this, leaning more toward comics than children's illustration-do you think the class would be applicable beyond children's illustrations?
Like you, I have dog-envy! My household isn't on board (yet!) and a person doesn't acquire a dog, the whole house does. We have 2 mature Bengal cats-which are a little like dogs but I would like some unconditional love on my timeline!
Like @demotlj (and my cats)-I'm mature in years. Improving my drawing and figuring out what I WANT to draw are the passions I'm cultivating as I edge toward retirement.
I'll check out your current class and what else you've got posted on the 'net.
I am in love with the designs of your mushroom people - I think the idea of putting their face at the very base of the shroom with these big floppy heads/foreheads is adorable and funny and something I haven't seen before.
My critique is in a place where I'm just starting to learn from - but it looks like with your comp that you could benefit from finding the big shapes forms and doing value on those. Your woman has a lot of different values in her which makes it hard for her to stand out - but maybe if her value and the cat and the mushroom people can all be of a lighter value, where the whole middle ground is the darkness of that grass. This would allow her to pop out more and be the true focus.
I have been working my new original comic book, Battle Chronicles for a few months and just recently purchased and created my website through SquareSpace. Currently, I upload 2 pages every Friday, but I am wondering if I should change my strategy?
Here is a little background information on what I have done so far:
Issue I (34 Pages+Cover) - All pages available for free since I started my website in June.
Issue II (22 Pages+Cover) - Finished and currently being uploaded two pages at a time every Friday.
Issue III (24 Pages+Cover) - Drawn and inked, need to be colored and lettered.
Issue IV (24 Pages+Cover) - Currently writing and working on thumbnails.
Should I change things up, or just stay the course? I am still new to this, but I just want to make sure that I am constantly self-evaluating and pushing myself for the best results!
Here are the covers for Issue I and II:
I do my inked lines... with ink. Brush pen and real paper, scanned and then finished in Illustrator. Maybe one day I'll get a cintiq (or equivalent) and move to doing things all digital, but for now I like my hybrid process.
I have done some line art in illustrator--the brush tool and width tool both are very helpful for that. But as my process has developed I've been doing more traditional inking. It works and I like it.