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  • Laura Schaumer

Mock-It Up!

Can I draw? Nope… Maybe a stick figure? Kind of. So, what happens when I need to illustrate a children’s book?

After you write the story, the next step (besides editing) is the ILLUSTRATIONS!

It is a very exciting time. But, how do you go about choosing an illustrator and most importantly, how do you make sure your ideas come across through someone else’s artistry?

The first thing I like to do is something called a MOCK BOOK. A mock book gives the author the opportunity to show what he/she envisions—from a visual perspective—for each page of the book. If you are not an artist, like myself, you can use different websites to help create this “mock book”. It helps the illustrator understand what imagery you imagine; complementing each piece of text in your story. Example: An elephant driving a vehicle



If this is the only description you give (without pictures or a description of the illustration), no illustrator would know you actually want a very large elephant squished inside a teeny, tiny car trying to get through a busy street. With a vague description like the example above, the artist may put a regular elephant in a regular car driving down a typical street.. Creating a mock book will give the illustrator a better sense of what you are thinking and what you want presented on each page.

There are a couple websites that can help you with this. I used www.mixbook.com for my first book. It’s often used for creating a photo album with personal pictures, but you can also upload any other images and use those images to layout how you want each page to look.

Another website (which is where I do 99% of my online work) is www.canva.com. I love this website – like... I am OBSESSED with it. There are thousands of possibilities and templates you can play with. However you choose to make your mock book, whether it’s actual hand drawn pictures or a website, make sure you also have complementary notes somewhere explaining the specifics that you aren’t able to get across with the images you include.

An example of this is when I was writing my book, I couldn’t find a good picture of a shorter green daisy among plain white daisies. Instead, I just uploaded a couple white daisies and made a comment in my notes so the illustrator had the details of what I envisioned for that page.When you do find an illustrator, you will also do an illustration brief with them to provide even more detail!

Either way, making your mock book is an exciting time. You start to see your story come to life. Have fun with it and let your imagination run wild!


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