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Children's Book Illustration - Day of fun at the Beach

Updated on April 1, 2018
rembrandz profile image

Remy Francis is a social artistic tech entrepreneur in Dubai.

This is a hub where I share my deepest thoughts and emotions while working on a Children's Book Illustration where I take you through the steps from the client brief to the completion of the design. It is a pleasure to reveal the scenario I got myself into in my imaginative world while creating it.

All my hubs will be art-related or travels related to my artistic life or my sketches interspersed with articles about learning experiences in life mostly first hand or experiences narrated to me. So I welcome aspirants and fans of art, animation and anything to do with creatives and fans of lifestyles around the world to watch this space.

Talking about this hub, it is about a certain job I got involved with where I talk in depth about what transpired in my mind while creating it and how it helped me move forward onto completion.

Illustrating Children's Books: Creating Pictures for Publication
Illustrating Children's Books: Creating Pictures for Publication
The successful book illustrator starts by understanding his author's flight of fancy, then rendering the ideas and actions imaginatively in pictorial terms. This unusual and inspiring book was written for art students and ambitious beginners. It instructs on methods of developing both imaginative powers and the technical artistic skills to produce high quality illustrations that will please authors and children's book editors. Separate chapters focus on: Media, materials, and techniques Developing different drawing styles to fit specific storytelling methods Instilling visual personality traits in story characters

My title picture is a rough watercolor I just made especially for this hub. It was a busy day today. But my determination to pull this off lands me here.

Going back to this job, and the pleasure I experienced while creating this work then, has spilled over today. So thanks to hubpages, I feel exactly as exhilarated as when I made it a long time ago.

The job was to create a 'Book-Cover-Design' with some friendly animal characters on the beach.

This was relatively a rush job because I had very little time to research on it.

This was the initial brief:

  • To do a children's book cover using text and provided illustrations.
  • Make sure the design conveys "fun in the sun."
  • Explore some classic themes or mechanisms associated with "fun in the sun" to develop the design.

How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book: The Easy and Inexpensive Way to Create a Book and eBook: For Non-Designers
How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book: The Easy and Inexpensive Way to Create a Book and eBook: For Non-Designers
Get this bestselling book by an award-winning self-publisher. "It’s easy to read, easy to understand. Yes, you’ll be introduced to everything you’d possibly need to know about the publishing world, but Bine-Stock explains every term, every step throughout the process, making it both manageable and accessible for even the newbiest writer." -- Cathy C. Hall, SCBWI Bulletin Review Excerpt

Because of my love for kids themes, animals and fun. (I am sure everyone is! :o)) I could get more involved. For while creating the scene, I actually felt that I was there in that moment in time, with these adorable mates on the beach with no worries in life.

When I was offered this project, I thought to myself, “Ahaa, they would like to see how I design under pressure!"

One day is what I had. And I knew I was not going to ruin my peace by meaningless rushing. I had to make an enjoyable experience out of it. And this could happen only if I stepped into my scene and participate in the carnival of the fun.

So I had to take the job from this….. this!

This was the detailed brief, though I would say that the material or references provided were far from detailed.

Your job will be one of filling in context and layout: to give a visual setting for Willie and his friends with words and the accompanying illustrations. Some Illustrator images are provided of the characters you would use. Using both text and pictures (the assignment calls for you to give these fun guys a setting) see if you can convey "fun in the sun."

  1. Design the book cover (front, back, and binding) that incorporates the given title and graphic character elements into an attractive design for children.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to plan and execute a creative design using a technique (but not limited to) representation, exaggeration, or motion.
  3. Create a unique typography for the book title, placed on the cover and binding, that demonstrates the use of type as a metaphor, a pictorial composition, or other playful, effective type technique.

Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web
This beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children's literature that is "just about perfect." This paper-over-board edition includes a foreword by two-time Newbery winning author Kate DiCamillo. Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's Web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur's life when he was born the runt of his litter.

With this brief and a handful of vector monochrome animals and a day in my hands, I knew I had no time to breath nor time for research.

However, my ambitions were high. I usually set it very high so that I am able to accomplish at least a decent fraction of it. Although, I must not beat myself weary in order to be a perfectionist. One just requires that right balance to stay within the requisites of attention-to-detail.

I wanted to give it a Disneyesque look. Now that was only in my mind and so I had to search wide and deep within my quivering brain, to reach that feat. I needed to get inspiration! I really needed inspiration from anywhere, from books, the internet, jump into the shower to scintillate my idea-points because time was running out. So, I went on a Google rampage of looking at myriads of beach-images online. I spent several hours seeking this kind of the so-called inspiration, but only found these images, as close to what I had in mind but they did not quite get there.

So I took my car and sped off to the beach, to see if some Mediterranean breeze could do me any good. I must say that I spent some inspirational time just looking around, enjoying the sea-breeze and thinking about “nothing”, just being inspired by the sheer beauty of the expanse of sands and the horizon.

After spending about half an hour there, I was all set to have my own little fun with Willie and friends in the beach.

My only counterparts who came to the rescue after this was (of course besides the monochrome yet lovely gang waiting to hop into the beach all colored up and ‘3D’ed) were the Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and my mind’s eye. What would I have done without these guys!

While I brought each of our pals in the illustrator files to life, I also got acquainted with every one of them. I thought everyone cooperated with me perfectly or rather, did I cooperate with their moods to create an environment they would fit into?

As you can clearly see, Sleek Willie is the leader of the fun team. He is leading the way as you see in my mind’s snapshot.

Oh look! Willie - the good Samaritan even decides to give a good time to both our almost amphibian friends, 'Trippy' the Toad and 'Hidey' the Tortoise. Both of them are quite fragile if they were to spend a day on the beach unattended to. One is too slow to keep up with the others and the other is too delicate. He could either get buried in the fine sand or get stepped on or be washed away from all his friends. So Willie does the honors to take them on a merry parade. You know how Seals are? Seals love to be the center of attraction like a legendary wax statue, all shimmering in the sun.

I almost missed! Do you see Russel – the walrus? He is looking for some serious attention. What’s that? Do not miss the star moves atop his exercise magnet! Does he know I am right there taking a snapshot? He seems to be really amused by the Willy-Hidey-Trippy catwalk. We don’t find too many walruses looking that merry, do we?! He clearly enjoys this dose of fun.

Now now, what is Clio the Hippo up to? Good gosh! Someone has given her a glass tank? Her master must really love her! She even has a fishy to swim with her.

The reptilian duo are having some action-filled sprint-party with the Frisbee. Alligator Adi is so much determined to get ahead of Snikky snake. Oh stop! You are ruffling up all that dust and cloud. Leave way! For....

Watch out! Paul the Penguin is striding right in, at a million miles an hour. As if he could not glide for himself. Oh well, these are the days when all of us have decided to behave a little supernatural. Haven’t we? For what are these gadgets made, but to be used to make our lives merrier. What magic can they become when given to the hands of such wondrous beauties. I find answers I never realised before, as I gaze at them with my cursor bothering them now and again.

This book design assignment was so very satisfying because it just complemented my love for kids storybooks and designs.

As a child I was bored to death, staying indoors. Though I was a city-bred kid, I always dreamt of those annual vacations to my hometown where it was nothing but green pastures, nothing but colourful butterflies and nothing but snails and grass-hoppers and ponds and kingfishers. I was that cranky kid who ran behind these creatures, who spent hours watching tadpoles swimming in the ponds, dotingly looked at little silvery fish on my fishing breaks with my aunt at the back-waters. And oh it is such a celebration... when we children spot a tortoise or get together to talk about that treasure which nobody could get to, buried at the bed of the pond along with a century old of ruins, guarded by serpents. And as much as the fantasy world and exaggeration intrigued me as a child, it is always intriguing to me to create the fantasy world, using concepts such as exaggeration and motion.

This is the reason why today I live, breath, sleep, work in the world of magic that we could create.

Draw 50 Animal 'Toons: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Dogs, Cats, Birds, Fish, and Many, Many, More...
Draw 50 Animal 'Toons: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Dogs, Cats, Birds, Fish, and Many, Many, More...
Draw 50 Animal ‘Toons shows aspiring artists how to draw with ease by following simple, step-by-step instructions. Acclaimed author Lee J. Ames helps you bring to life a skateboarding crocodile, a funky monkey, and a juggling seal. Also included are dinosaurs, flamingos, squirrels, gorillas, and a whole spectrum of fun-loving animals.

In this assignment, I made an effort to go all out to have fun with Willie and his friends, exaggerating him balancing his turtle friend. And our walrus friend with a beach ball, the hippo pal in a fish tank enjoying the seaside and little alligator playing frisbee with the really naughty-looking snake, with the penguin doing the surfboarding. Both of the latter using concepts of motion, including the frothy waves. At the end, it was almost as if I had a day out, at the beach with Willie too.

This may have been the reason why I landed up surviving a rush job such as this.

To finally sum up my wonderful day at the beach Illustration work, may I take you through the various stages that let me see the final image which I presented. 

Meanwhile, enjoy, imagine, get dazed and create. That’s my advice for today.

Creatively yours!

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    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      9 years ago from Dubai

      Hey there shape_shifter Thanks tonnes for your kind words and taking your time to visit and experience the journey I took as narrated in my hub.

    • shape_shifter profile image


      9 years ago from The Free Waters of Planet Earth

      Incredible work, as usual!!! You are a very diverse artist who really knows how to commit to the work at hand, own it, and make it an extension of yourself! I wouldn't use anyone else for my book covers!This was a great example of the blend between the new technology and classic artistry coming together with some fine perspective and great use of color! I'm a big fan!

    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      9 years ago from Dubai

      Hey thanks carolinemd21 for your visit.

      I am glad I was able to inspire you to illustrate a Kid's theme someday. The greatest way to relax too!

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 

      9 years ago

      Great hub. Wonderful images! I would like to illustrate a children's book one day. It seems like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      9 years ago from Dubai

      Absolutely Nikashi D

      I am glad you share the same sentiments as I do and always reread this hub to go back to my childhood days at the beach too.

      Thank you for your visit and kind words.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Fantastic story that flowed perfectly with the renderings. "Fun In The Sun" was one of your objectives in this project and I think you conveyed that perfectly. I can actually recall my childhood at Jones Beach, just kids playing and being silly, without a worry in the world. Thanks...

    • elizabethmcgriff profile image


      9 years ago from South Alabama

      Great hub. I am so impressed at your ability to create so quickly! Walking the reader through the process gives amazing insight.

    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      9 years ago from Dubai

      Hey Thanks Hyphenbird

      I am humbled by your kind words.

      It would be a pleasure. Thanks. Let me know and I would be glad to play a part in your published inspiring stories.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      9 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I am simply in awe. I think I have found the artist for my book cover (the childhood stories). Wow and again I say Wow.

    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      9 years ago from Dubai

      Thanks danielallen66 for your appreciation and for stopping by.

    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      10 years ago from Dubai

      Thank you for your kind words NR.

    • Novelty Reviews profile image

      Novelty Reviews 

      10 years ago

      Priceless. You are an incredible artist, Rembrandz. Such joy and energy radiating from your renderings.

    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      10 years ago from Dubai

      Hello there Tonigovan

      Thank you for stepping by and your compliments.

      That's so lovely to hear of your volunteering to read at the pre-school. The book is yet to be published.

      Also as you see, I have removed some of the details like the publisher name etc., but I had the rights to display my creation in my works. But I may have another book in the offing which can be made available to you sometime soon. Will keep you posted.

    • Tonigovan profile image


      10 years ago

      wonderful images and I can see the story coming to life. Was the book ever published?


      I have volunteered to read to my friends pre school class and would love to show this to them.

    • Tonigovan profile image


      10 years ago

      wonderful images and I can see the story coming to life. Was the book ever published?



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