Trying to find resources for how to make a Dummy Book for a Young Readers illustrated novel.

  • It's now the summer for me and I'm currently working on a young Readers fantasy story. The format of the book I'm trying to make is an 8 inch by 6 inch paperback novel with black and white illustrations (similar to Wild Rescuers: Guardians of the Taiga, Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain, and The Unicorn Rescue Society ). If anyone has any resources on formatting a dummy book like this or any general information on how it works, I would really appreciate it!

    Here is a sketch of one of the illustrations from the story. It's called The Thrown Away World: The Forest in the Landfill


  • SVS OG

    I think showing a few samples of your art paired with book text (and a cover if you have one!) will work for a dummy of a young novel. It definitely helps sell the work if you can show how it would look as a page (or a double-spread with text on one page and full page art on the other) - it's easier for others to visualize a completed piece.

    Here's a sample I made in SVS's Book Cover Design class for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:


    Adobe InDesign is what I use to layout books and documents, but you can create this look in other programs too.

    I really like your rendering style, it is well-suited to the young readers/middle grade level!

  • @carriecopa

    Thank you so much Carrie! This is really solid advice. I'll go forward and start working on the illustrations then. One other question I did have: with your illustration, do you make it bigger than the size it would be in the book? Is there a dpi they want you to have?

  • SVS OG

    @bdonoho I still consider myself new at this, but I work pretty close to actual size, and about 350dpi. For a more detailed style, working larger and shrinking it down later might work better.

    I think 300dpi is the standard print resolution, but some artists work as high as 600dpi in case their work ever needs to be blown up larger down the road (for promotional materials or something). That can really slow down your computer though, because the file size is so large.

  • @carriecopa Thanks again! This will definitely help as I set about trying to illustrate these. I'll be posting progress on it on the forum!

  • SVS OG

    @bdonoho Excited to see your progress! I'd like to make illustrations for middle grade books too, so it's fun to know someone with the same interest. We can cheer each other on.

  • @carriecopa

    Hey Carrie, I was wondering, according to your illustration class, how long should it take to produce one interior book illustration? I think that if I set deadlines it will be much easier to deal with perfectionism.

  • SVS OG

    @bdonoho We discussed timelines in terms of an entire project. The entire book is done in chunks (draw thumbnails for yourself of ideas for all the illustrations, then make polished sketches you would show the client for feedback, then work on finals) so I'm not sure on the timeline for just one illustration. A book project could be anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months depending on the scope.

    For practice, I'd give myself a week or two to go from thumbnail to final on an illustration. 2 days to collect reference/brainstorm/draw thumbnails, 2 days to make polished sketches/value studies, 6 to make the finished piece.

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