Friday, June 25, 2010

An Illustrator’s Process - Making a Picture Book Dummy, Part 3

Here is Part 3 of the directions for Barbara’s (current) favorite book dummy:

For you stoic (and curious) dummy makers, here’s the finish of the board-book-style dummy!

8. Prepare cover
  • Measure height of book – it should be 5 ½”! This is height of cover.
    • Lay color-photo-type paper (Kinko slick) landscape-style
    • Trim paper to height of book – should be 5 ½” high, 11” wide
  • Starting from right hand edge of 11” strip, GLOSSY SIDE UP, measure width of front + ¼” and score* vertically.
    • This is the Front Cover.
  • From score line, continue measuring to the left an amount equal to the width of the spine and score** again.
    • This is the Cover Spine.
    • Note that this area will NOT be glued to book block spine!
  • Repeat last step. Measure to the left the same distance (width of spine) and score*** again.
    • This, plus Cover Spine strip will form a Hinge.
    • The Hinge strip will also NOT be glued down, although it will form part of the Back Cover.
  • Leave the remainder of the 11” strip intact. Cut it after cover is attached, just to be safe, in case of mis-measurement.
  • It’s a good idea to glue another strip of Tyvek to the inside (non-glossy side) of the Cover Spine/Hinge area, to reinforce it.
9. Attach cover
  • Fold 1st score line* and glue Front Cover to top (fly leaf) page of book block
    • Match fold to spine edge of block! It will slightly overlap the open edge.
    • Apply glue to book block page, not cover, so the overlap edge isn’t sticky.
    • Glue Front Cover only! Do not glue spine!
  • Fold 2nd score line** around spine – Do Not Glue!
  • Fold 3rd score line*** backward. OK, fold it in the other direction from the other folds. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.
  • Wrap the cover around the book block. Measure the back cover overlap to match the front cover overlap. Should be about ¼”. But if block got skewed somehow, just measure it to look good. Balance it! Make it look like it matches! Trim off excess.
  • Now the tricky bit.
    • Glue the Back Cover portion of the cover to the bottom (fly leaf) page of the book block, BUT…
    • DO NOT GLUE ANY PART OF THE SPINE OR HINGE AREA to any part of the book block.
10. Finish the cover!
  • Either you were way ahead of me and figured out how to copy your cover image/text onto the lower right hand corner of your color-photo-type cover paper, or
  • Copy your cover image/text on glossy paper and cut and paste it onto the cover!
Now I not only have a greater respect for those who write instructions, but also have the utmost admiration for those of you who have followed along! It's easier to make the dummy than to try to explain making it!  I hope these directions will be helpful.  Happy dummy making!


  1. exquisite and very clear text and pictures....great job from a pair of fantastically talented sisters! I used to oversee pre-press and press checks for our 48pp saddle-stitch and later perfect bound nature books--so it is a bit of a nostalgia trip for me. Cheers, Vicki

  2. Wow, that is a beautiful dummy! Well done, and great instructions.

  3. These are very clear instructions as well as illustratons to go along with them. I'm glad I only have to do a writer's dummy for my own editing process.