DIY Editing Picture Book Illustrations

The third book in the Kayla’s Adventures series has been published on Amazon. Kindle version is free this Sunday and Monday.

I have done some editing on all three books. This last book required a bit more than the others. The illustrator that I use puts in a lot of work, but not nearly the same amount as a professional book illustrator. There is a digit different in the price, so I do not expect the same level work. There are three main reasons that I edit the illustrator’s files: moving characters and text away from the edges of pages, consistency within the story and with other books in the series, and general aesthetics. I will show the two pages from Kayla’s Red Leaf with the most visible edits.

The top image is before, the bottom image is after.

sample from Kayla
Kayla’s Gorgeous Red Leaf

The Edits:

  • The text boxes were square but in the rest of the series, the edges were rounded. The text and the box were too close to the print edges and could get cut off.
  • Kayla was too close to the center line and could get trapped or distorted in the spine of the book (to format for KDP, each scene needs to be cut into 2 pages and resized).
  • The “gorgeous, red leaf” is part of what is driving the story, so it needed to be red. The edited version also has the leaf mirrored. The page after this is a continuation of the scene and it seemed more appropriate to have the leaf’s orientation to the characters the same on both pages.
  • In the original, the mole appears as a line drawing with flood fill coloring. The style does not match the rest of the characters, and the pose was unnatural for the scene. I found and purchased a vector image mole and a construction hat. I did a little color and color gradient changes on both and was able to alter the position of legs and arms a little. I was not able to get rid of the dog’s nose on the mole, but it’s kind of cute anyway.

I use Adobe Illustrator for most color and segment positioning edits; Photoshop for sizing and converting to jpeg prior to the final formatting into PDF for the paperback, and MOBI with the free Kindle Kids’ Book Creator program.

Kayla’s Adventures

The Edits:

  • The text and box were repositioned and shaped as was mentioned in the first example.
  • The main turtle was moved away from the center of the book. The turtle and the leaf were angled and positioned to fit in a little better. I am still not 100% happy with the choice of turtle and the appearance of the leaf, but they work well enough to tell the story without being distracting. I did place 2 of the tiny turtles a little too close to the center line.
  • I took the background from the last page of the book and kept the large tree in the foreground.
  • The yellow-green bird from the beginning of the story now makes an appearance at the end of the story.
  • The lake was added to the new scene and a turtle is swimming. The rocks and foliage around the lake were elements copied from other pages of the Kayla’s Adventures series.
  • The hole in the hill was added to tie together the ending of the story. The image is a combination of an element from another page in the Red Leaf book and layering a darker object with gradient coloring and partial opacity. This element would have been made significantly better by a real illustrator.

Unintentional edits: sometimes the colors get slightly altered. I suspect it has something to do with changing file types and switching between programs. I learn new things with every book and hope that I figure this one out with the next book in the series, Kayla and the Crystal Cave.

If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions,

please leave a reply below.


Published by Katie

Active Art Designs was created to have a centralized area to share art, designs, and other creative endeavors.

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