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How to Make Your Own Picture Book


Children love picture books. Walk into any bookstore, and you will find an entire section with rows devoted to children's picture books. Some are classics that have been around for decades, others are newcomers maybe destined for the classics list. Making your own picture book isn't difficult and can be a project to enjoy with your child's help.

Decide what your picture book will be about. Involve your child in the process. Come up with a story together. The story doesn't need to be complex. Picture book text is typically simple---no more than a couple of lines below each picture. Most of the focus will be on creating characters and drawing them. Your drawings don't have to be of artistic quality, so don't worry about your abilities. The idea is to make a picture book your child will enjoy.

Write your story out first. Having it written down will give you ideas for your illustrations. If you have Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher, either of these programs include picture book templates. You can also make your own template by starting a new document on the "File" menu and setting the page orientation to landscape. If you have neither of these programs Serif PagePlus offers free desktop publishing software you can use to create your picture book (see Resources). You can type your text directly into the picture book template, then use the "Format" menu to choose the size, color and style of your font. Use the "Insert" menu to add fancy borders to each page that will go around your pictures when you add them later.

Draw the artwork for the story you've written. Include your child. Discuss picture ideas with him. Make your child feels as if he is a big part of the project because the book will belong to him when it's finished. After you've drawn all of the pictures to go with your text, scan them into the computer so you can add them to your picture book file. This is done using the "Insert" menu and choosing the "Picture" command. Insert each picture above the text where it belongs. For variety, alternate which side of the page you put your pictures on.

Save your file as a Word document or a PDF file. If you use Microsoft Word 2007 or Microsoft Publisher 2007, you can do this from within the program. If not, there are many free virtual PDF printers that will allow you to save a file as PDF through your print control panel (see Resources). This will allow you to take your book to a professional printer if you choose to do so.

Print your book pages on glossy photo paper. This will make your pictures look better and your book more professional. Bind your book by purchasing a hard book cover or photo album cover from a hobby shop. Consider taking your book to a local printer for professional binding; the book could ultimately be handed down from one generation to the next.

Items you will need
Colored pencils
Sketch pad
Desktop publishing software
Glossy computer paper
Color printer
Scanner
Book cover
About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.