How to Make a Children’s Book on a Budget

My ideas usually start small and then grow into something bigger.

It’s a problem, really.  When I decided to make a book for my sons’ birthdays, I first thought that I would write something, and figure out how to import images for the illustrations.  As the idea grew, I wanted to teach them a spiritual lesson about life being all about God, then I decided to use them as the main characters.  As it developed, I eventually self-published a children’s book entitled, It’s All About God, with Obadiah and Eli as the main characters.

I’ve had some very kind comments from people who picked the book up online, and I have had some questions how I made it.  First off, I am not an artist and I’m not that talented.  I just learn to be clever (aka budget, ghetto, whatever adjective you might use here).  So, here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a children’s book on a budget.

1.  I take lots of pictures of the boys.  I then put them in iPhoto.  I changed some effects on some of the shots to give them a bigger color boost.


2.  I downloaded a free program called “Gimp” to edit the pictures.  It is a software designed to give budget people like me a shot at Adobe Photoshop capabilities.  In Gimp, I cut the boys’ heads out of the picture to isolate their faces.

3.  I drew all the bodies and scenes in Keynote (Mac’s version of Power Point).  I used simple shapes or the hand-drawn tool.  I gave most of the objects an outline that made it look like a child’s drawing.  I then placed all the objects together.

4.  I wrote the text for the page.  I then would have the slides as a different page.  Example: slide #12 would be the left page, slide #13 would be the right page.  So I would start with the slide #12.  Make the background.  Copy and paste the slide (which would be #13) so that when they were beside each other the scene would appear seamless.  Here is an example of the left page:

Here is the opposite page.

And, when printed, the spread looked like this:

Anyway, it was a fun project.  The boys love it which makes me a happy daddy.  And it showed me that you can make special gifts for people on a budget that give memories for a lifetime.

If you would like a copy of the book, you can get yours here.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.

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2 Comments

  1. Leah Golden Wilson

    Nate loves it! We read it a lot at our house. Very creative!

  2. Travis Agnew

    Awesome. Thanks so much, Leah!

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