YouShouldYouShould: Dummy Book

Here's the dummy book! 

Remember feedback is appreciated, especially in this stage--it's a critical part of the process.

I used Photoshop to edit and clean my sketches a bit (some are pretty scary still) and put them in Adobe Illustrator to insert text.

What?  You don't know what a dummy book is?  It's okay, this time you're not the dummy.  ;)

A dummy book is a sketched "rough draft" of the book, to check for:
  • interesting page turns,
  • make sure the story flows well and makes sense,
  • consistency with text placement,
  • variety in scenes (up close, far away, lots of characters, few characters)
  • variety in design and compostion, (otherwise the book can get boring)
  • make sure the pictures match the mood
  • ETC!

Now without further ado:

By Ginny Tilby

(page 1-3 is for title page and all the boring copyright book info, etc.)

page 4 page 5

page 6 page 7

page 8 page 9

page 10 page 11

page 12 page 13

page 14 page 15

page 16 page 17

page 18 page 19

page 20 page 21

page 22 page 23

page 24 page 25

page 26 page 27

page 28 page 29

page 30 page 31

page 32

Let me know what you think about the pictures!
Anything confusing?  (besides the scribbly less finished ones)  Any suggestions?

To those who gave helpful suggestions for the written story... I'm still editing so don't worry if you catch on that some changes still haven't been made.

Follow me by email (top right corner) to watch the documented process of illustrating this children's book.  
I promise to make it fun!


  1. Opes!!! Page 17 and 18/19 needs to be reworked! The book of spots needs to show up in page 17, and in 18/19 there needs to just be giraffe trying to pull spot off hippo in different ways. He doesn't need to be showing him the book in 18/19.

  2. Ginny, I love your style. It has so much... style! You did ask for feedback, and I do have some. It's much easier to verbalize feedback at this stage where it's easier to picture the vision in book form.

    1. Sometimes there's too much disconnect between illustrations on successive pages. Example: from pg. 5-6, he's lying down, then suddenly he's bent the whole tree over. I feel like there should be another image to complete the transition. Like when he says "I should? OK. . . another day" I feel like that should be its own page with a picture of him getting ready to climb the tree. In fact, I feel the same kind of disconnect during each of the segments.

    2. Sometimes it's hard to follow who's talking, especially on pg 8. I look at the page expecting the text to be spatially associated with the speaker, but it isn't. The block on the left switches speakers, while the block on the right actually belongs to the character on the left. It's a bit disorienting.

    Great job so far! I know all the kids will love your artwork. I think it's really exceptional.

    1. 1. Spencer, THANK YOU you've cleared up a huge question that has been in my mind. I'm glad to know my suspicions were correct. I'm in the process of solving this problem and have some new ideas up my sleeve. I appreciate having you take the time. Seriously. This has been extremely helpful.

      2. As for the talking issue, I'm planning to have the text different colors to match who is talking. Hippo text will be black throughout, and other's texts will match or relate to whatever color they are.

      Spencer you're the best! Thanks!!!

    2. Whew, I'm glad you received that feedback in the right light. I can be pretty critical with giving feedback and I was worried the emotionless internets would make me sound harsh. But if that was helpful to you I also noticed a couple other minor things I could mention.

      Great plan with the text color, btw. I think that will solve it very well if you're consistent with colors through the whole book.

  3. I really like this so far but I think it would be beneficial if you added something that introduces the hippo. I don't know how easily a child can identify with a hippo if they don't know his name or anything. That's just a little tweak but I think it might help a lot.

    1. You're so smart! Thanks Hannah!! I recently talked to a professional story board artist who mentioned the same problem. I think giving him a name wouldn't be consistent with the rest of the story nor is it really necessary, BUT you are right that the hippo needs to be better introduced at the beginning of the story. With a better full body pose that really shows him to us. Dr. Seuss's characters were often nameless, like in the foot book or even the main character in green eggs and ham. Etc.

  4. This is fantastic! I second Spencer and Hannah's points (I was actually about to say the same thing as Spencer; good thing I read other comments first). One other thing I noticed is that on page 7, the cadence of the first couplet is a little wonky. I think it rolls a little better just by adding an "and":
    When you walk, try this you see.
    Throw your toes up high AND free.

    But I love this book. I need babies to read it to! Curse my single status!

    1. Great, I LOVE hearing people agree with each other's comments, it helps me know even more that it's something that needs work, if more people are seeing it as a problem. Thank you thank you!

      So this is embarrassing but I totally had to ask my roommate who is an english major what the words cadence and couplet mean. Thanks for teaching me something new today! I ought to know these things. As for the "and".... haha, you found a typo. It was suppose actually to say "and." I had to scroll up and be like, "What? I thought that's what it does say." lol Ooopsies. Thanks for pointing that out!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to look and comment!

  5. Debra responded on LinkedIn and I wanted her comments included here so others could read them and have them to also think about and agree or disagree. I think she's provided very insightful feedback. Thanks Debra!

    Hi Ginny,

    Feel free to disregard or implement any of the following :)

    p. 4 "I should obey. I want you to like me." This gave me too negative a feeling in relation to conforming to peer pressure. Maybe change it to something about since the rooster is his friend he'll do it to make his friend happy?

    p.6 - I almost wanted to see one word of sound to emphasize the massive blow out illustrated.

    p.6 and p.7- "should" becomes "must" and "ought", respectively. All prior instances include a "should" either by the MC or his junglemates. Intentional?

    p.7 - maybe add the word "my" before "mother" and lowercase Mother. I think it shows more personal importance for the hat if it's "my mother" instead of the formal "Mother."

    p 14 - fishes or fish for the plural?

    I love the illustrations and the teaching message.

    Debra Feldman

    1. Thank you Debra!

      p.4 - I see what you mean. I don't want TOO much of a negative feeling, but I do want kids to feel that uncomfortable feeling because how many kids have said that in their minds, "I want them to like me... maybe if I do this or that differently...." Even adults do this. I want people to really relate. I want this to strike home. I'm okay with the negative feeling. But I'd be interested to hear if others agree that it is TOO negative, because I could be wrong and I'm looking for the best product possible.

      p. 6 - When you say p. 6 do you mean p. 14? There's no other "blow out scene." And thanks, I actually think that might help too now that you mention it!!

      p. 6 and 7 - Intentional. Yes. Provides learning and vocab, and also more variety in rhyming possibilities. Since you've said this, I've actually considered renaming the book to "You Should, Must, Ought!" Any thoughts? Maybe I'll open that idea/question up to the public in the future. Thank you!

      p. 14 - Oh Debra, I didn't even think of that... which strikes me as odd that I didn't. Obviously fish is plural but the rhyming meter works best with "fishes." I'll have to talk to editors about that. Great point.

      Thanks SO much!

    2. I think fishes is fine. I know I've seen it pluralized that way elsewhere (although I can't think of a specific elsewhere to reference right now.) And as you said, the meter works better that way.

    3. Maybe you read it in the bible? :) Matthew 6:41 "And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all."

      Thanks, I think I'll keep it! It's so much easier that way.

  6. I agree with Spencer's first comment. On the pages like 6 and 10, you almost don't need text. They stand on their own and are gonna make the kids laugh when they see them. But maybe that's a big no-no in illustrating children's books, I wouldn't know! :)

    1. Thanks Sarah. I have the same question in my mind about those pages. I figured I should keep it consistent with the rest of the pages, and have a follow up phrase to read when you turn the page. But some pages just feel like it's unnecessary, and I think a gut feeling is important in these instances. Especially when I'm not the only one with these thoughts--so thanks for letting me know you caught that too. Validation is so helpful!

  7. Nice work Ginny! I was glad to finally see each page laid out and see the contributions that the pictures add to the story. There were a few things I noticed, most of which have been covered by others above. The ones that weren't (unless I missed them - quite possible) are:

    1. How large will the book be? At the moment the pages dedicated to text have just a small image - if the book is A4 size, would you have room to also fit Hippo's face at least, to associate him with the text of his response?

    2. Could the intro to Hippo be a sentence or two of narrative right at the start, something like: "Hippo liked to swim and sun / 'til one day Possum stopped his fun"

    3. Page 16: Taking Debra's comment one step further, perhaps "Mommy" would be even better than "my mother", and has the right rhythm

    4. I might be wrong, but think that "fishes" is still technically OK if you mean more than one species of fish!

    5. Flamingo's size contrasts a little strangely with Hippo's on pages 8 & 29. I guess with more detail we'll see that this is solved with perspective by placing Hippo in the distance in pg 8, but am guessing that alone won't be enough for pg 29 and you'll also need to shrink Flamingo

    6. I LOVE Monkey in page 13, including his snappy tie!

    7. Great final scene, floating off into the sunset!

    1. Yeah, sorry this took me so long.

      1. The book will probably be 8.5x11 inches, but that's really to be determined by the publishers. I'm making sure everything I make will fit in 8x10 when shrunk down. I"ll do the paintings much bigger. Yeah, once I put text in I was able to see all kinds of ways I need to redesign my images. This is just my first draft. There is MUCH work and change to be done now that I have it laid out. And I've already started redoing all the images to include at least his face, sometimes his full body, in every page.

      2. Good idea. I'll have to chew on that...

      3. I'm so undecided on that one it's not even funny haha. Hippo isn't young enough to be using words like Mommy. Mother is old fashioned though I guess huh? "My Mom" doesn't flow out of the lips as smoothly as "Mother made." Too many "m's." I feel like "Mommy made" has the same problem. There are a few other possiblities people have suggested on the story post that I'm still playing with as well, which completely take out the mom thing. That might be a better solution. I just haven't had time to edit text yet.

      4. Oh good!! Thanks!!

      5. Yeah, I'm redrawing that too. I actually just drew a drawing of all the animals next to each other showing size relationships and stuck it on my wall so I can be more consistent as I draw and design. :) Flamingo got a lot smaller. :) Thanks for validating that for me!

      6. Really? He doesn't feel "monkey" enough for me yet. I"m glad you like him!!

      7. THANKS! :) I like it too.

  8. One more tiny thing: typo on page 11 - "I must I obey" (should be "I must obey").

    1. You're right! Typo it is. "I should obey" is what i was going for.

  9. Oops - make that "I should obey"...or is that actually meant to be two very short sentences? "I should. I obey"?


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