Mi first children's book. Critiques, please. (update: Now in MOBI too!)

  • Hi everyone.

    I just finished my first children's book after some months of work. I learned a lot in the process and I'm already working on the next.

    I would like so much for you to criticize every aspect of the book, from the art to the storytelling. I have thick skin, I'll not take it personally, so don't be shy. I only want to learn as much as possible from the experience so the next one could be better.

    I'll let you here a link to download a pdf or mobi archive with the entire book. You can choose between the English and Spanish versions. Feel free to pass it to anyone.


    01 Cover Gaby & Remy web.jpg

    Have a great day you all!!!

  • Cool project. Congrats on finishing it! It is always good to get something done.

    One thing I saw that you will want to watch out for as you go on is you need to watch the gutter. Some pages had text across the gutter and that would be unreadable when printed.

    I love the characters they are very fun.

    Good Luck!

    1. Your strength is in your color choices...very nice.
    2. (Same as Prairie Fox mentioned) Some of the pages ran into the gutter and I could not read them, but that's an easy fix.
    3. The characters are good (I love the Mermaids sharp teeth)
    4. The detail in your illustration is great! (I especially liked the Viking baby with the horn baby bottle!)
    5. My only other suggestion would be to try and use only one font throughout the book for easier reading and to make it less conflicting with the illustrations
      And I am looking forward to seeing more of your work! Good job!

  • @theprairiefox thanks!

    Actually I'm fighting a lot with that. I already published it on Amazon and I'm working on the print versiรณn. I added bleeding margins on my plates but I didn't realize that since I was working in a bigger archive, when I resize it to the print size the bleed margins were proportionally smaller.
    I learn the lesson and for the next one I'm going to make templates with bigger bleed area or I'll start directly working on the print size. But for this one, I'm going to have to do some arrangements to fix it for printing.

    Thank you so much for your feedback

  • @arent-draper


    1. Is interesting that you mention the colors choice because colors choice is really my weakness. I'm very bad at previsualizing good combinations BUT I recognized them very good when I see them. Knowing that, what I do is working with Solid Color layers on Photoshop. I have every flat color separate it and I play with them until I'm happy. Then I start working on the flat colors for volume, texture, shadows etc. This way I always can change one color without problem. It is a weakness that I made a strenght since I know how important it is.
    2. I answer that to Prairie Fox. I'm working on that and is making me crazy!
      3 and 4. Thanks.
    3. Yeah! I know that now clearly! It is as if two different books mixed together. Completely agree. Following Jake's mantra "finished, not perfect", this book is going to stay like that but the next one I'll take this on account from the beginning.

    Thank you so much for your time and feedback, Arent-Draper!

    Have a great day!

  • Hi, I just wrote my thoughts down as I came across them, I hope they all make sense!

    I'm having difficulty reading your fonts, particularly the title fonts, though the body copy isn't much better. It's cute, but difficult to read without a lot of concentration. I don't think the drop shadow in the font is helping with the legibility. I like what you did with the G in Gaby and the R in Remy. It's a really clever way to tell us which character is which right of the bat.

    I think it would be worthwhile to get a copy editor. There are a few grammar mistakes.

    I really like the way you write to the reader. It reminds me of the Teletubbies a bit, if you know that kids show.

    I worry about your page with the costumes. It's cute and I enjoy the callouts to other media, but I think if you are selling this book you run into some copyright issues with Warner Brothers, DC, Studio Ghibli, Shanghai Minghuan, and on your author page, Motorhead.

    Your final page introducing Rodolfo might make more sense at the beginning of the book, that way we follow Rodolfo throughout his adventures with Gaby and Remy as he brings them together.

    One last thought, there's really nothing in the book that tells us Remy is a pirate other than the title. Perhaps if she was wearing more "piratey" attire or had a pirates hat on or something along those lines calling her a pirate would make sense.

    This is a great first book and I applaud your effort. I think your art style is cute, clean and consistent and I agree with the others, your color choices are bright and fun. My favorite pages are your patterned framed portraits, they feel like they come right off a treasure map.

  • @jakecrowe Thank you! This really helps!

    I use grammarly but I suppose is nor perfect :).
    Yes, I know Teletubbies!
    I have to work better the storytelling next time, give it more thought. You made really good points. Thanks again!

    Have a great day!

  • Thanks for sharing this, @Samu! I really liked the book. I teach kindergarten and just know how this would catch little kid's attention. The images are very attractive and the story is very interesting, they can relate with the activities and also imagine this whole fantastic world.
    If I had to say something it would only be about the spreads, as they are beautiful, but far too confusing to my eyes, it's even hard to read the text. Maybe play with color saturation, leave brighter colors to your focal points. Because the colors are all so powerful, they get all too loud and it's really hard to find a place to rest your eyes, you know? I'm far from an expert, but I think u wouldn't have to chance any of the composition aspects or even change the colors with they were all at the same saturation level. So you would get more contrast in the picture and would be able to select itens in the scene that are most relevant by giving them brighter colors and toning down on the other.
    Does that make sense?

  • @Pri-Cesar

    Yeah, of course make sense! It take me like a month to complete every spread and in the end the pages I most like are the more simplest, like the ones with the cats, that I completed in one morning ๐Ÿ™‚

    I completely agree with you, the spreads were the first pages I made and in the beginning the whole book was planned to be spreads, but in the process, I learned and the style changed.

    I need to advance and I decided to work in the next book instead of spending three months working on improving this one, but your feedback is indispensable for the next one to be better.

    Did you saw grammatical errors? Spanish is my first language, not English.

    I have one idea, tell me what do you think. I'm thinking on make coloring books. Digital copies of my books are going to be completely free always, so it can be a good idea that schools, kindergartens or any father and mother in their house could print the pages they want for coloring. I think in schools it can be a great thing since the cost of buying the fisical coloring books could be big because you only can use it once, of course, :D. You can even only print the page with the outlines if you have a big screen in class and show the colored image on the screen to all the children.
    I create a quick example that I let you here. Give me your thoughts on this, if you like or dislike the idea, etc.

    Gaby and Remy cover web.jpg

    And last but not least, since you are a kindergarten teacher, can you recommend me some blog, podcast, youtube channel, etc about, you know, learning about kids and tools for education, etc. I was a tattoo artist before and I don't have a background with children and since I decided to create for them the rest of my life me and my work can benefit a lot from learning about children. I'm driven for pure instinct now, I need to learn.

    Thanks a lot for your time and feedback. Have a great day!

  • SVS OG

    Hi @Samu i have a few critiques for your book. They might sound brash tho. Will it be alright with you if I post it here?

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz Hi Nyrryl!

    Yes, please. I just went to your site and see that you have a lot more experience than me on this. I'm really interested in your opinion, and don't worry, I don't take things personally. I'm eager to learn.

    And what place better than this forum so other people can benefit from what we all learn ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love your work, by the way

    Thank you for your time and care

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz AH! I almost forgot! In your site, when you click on your illustrations to bring the slideshow up, the name of the archive appears below. Some have the title of the piece but others are like "IMG-064" or "Untitled-Artwork (6)".
    You know you can configure the slideshow feature so don't show the name of the archive? plus the image appears bigger.
    I think you should correct all the names so they show the name of the piece or don't show them at all. I'm all in for the second option ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    I have a very similar page and you can see that in my slideshow there are no archives names:


  • @Samu I updated the link because I added MOBI archives and Spanish version!

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