Make a Picture Book Smarty

Make a Picture Book "Smarty" Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
Make a Picture Book “Smarty”
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

“Make a Picture Book Smarty

I’ve changed the name. Instead of a picture book dummy – it should be a picture book smarty. It’s smart to make one, not dumb as the name would lead you to think. After I told Linda Andersen that I think they should be called “Smarties” instead of “Dummies, ” I saw a post by Sarah S. Brannen called “Dummies for Smarties.

What is a picture book dummy (smarty)?
Merriam Webster Online says that a dummy is:

a :  a mock-up of a proposed publication (as a book or magazine)

b :  a set of pages (as for a newspaper or magazine) with the position of text and artwork indicated for the printer

So before you can make a “smarty” for the picture book you’ve written or  another person’s picture book, you need to put the text for the story on pages that represent the book. They don’t have to be full-sized pages, but large enough for you to see how the text and the pictures are going to blend together and flow from one page to the next.

A picture book “Smarty” will help you see in a flash that there is too much text which leaves you no room for an illustration. Or that there isn’t text that makes you want to  turn the page on the odd-numbered pages. You want great page-turning text on the odd numbered pages! You can do this!

Cover Page (back of it is end paper glued to front cover)
1 – title page
2 – copyright page 3 – dedication page
4 -Blank or an illustration leading into the story 5 – FIRST PAGE OF Text STORY (No words on page 4),
6 and 7 (two-page spread1)
8 and 9 (two-page spread2)
10 and 11 (two-page spread3)
12 and 13 (two-page spread4)
14 and 15 (two-page spread5)
16 and 17 (two-page spread6)
18 and 19 (two-page spread7)
20 and 21 (two-page spread8)
22 and 23 (two-page spread9)
24 and 25 (two-page spread10)
26 and 27 (two-page spread11)
28 and 29 (two-page spread12)
30 and 31 (two-page spread13)
32 LAST PAGE OF TEXT in Picture Book.
End Paper (which is glued to back cover) Back Cover

You may choose to copy text and images and paste them into program that prints them out on regular 8 1/2 x 11 paper and staple together as a book.Or do half pages. Many people make their dummies smaller than the book. This helps cut down the cost when you print copies to send publishers or others. As long as the pages are in proportion to the finished book, you’ll be fine.

I laminated 18 pages of the size paper I wanted and bound them together with plastic coils at a local print shop. Then I taped the text and illustrations to it, including the front and back cover. When I finish one book, I can scan the pages, take them off and start again. Or laminate 18 more pages.

Do what sounds fun and will do the job! Good luck with your picture book “smarties!”
Please tell me what you think of this idea!


  1. Dulemba. “Storyboard:”
  2. David Huyck. “How to Make a Picture Book Dummy:” 
  3. Kathy Temean. “How to Craft a Book Dummy:”
  4. Joan Y. Edwards. “So You Want to Write a Picture Book: “ 
  5. Joan Y. Edwards. “What Are Picture Books?” 
  6. Wisegeek. “What Is a Picture Book?”
  7. Meghan McCarthy “An Illustrator’s Guide to Illustrating a Picture Book:”
  8. Patrice Sherman. “A Few Picture Book Basics,”
  9. Patrice Sherman. “Kinds of Picture Books,”
  10. Sarah McIntire. “Picture Book Dummy Sample”
  11. Sarah S. Brannen Tutorial: “Dummies for Smarties”
  12. Uri  Shulevitz. “How to Make a Storyboard:”

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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
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18 thoughts on “Make a Picture Book Smarty”

  1. Joan, “dummy” has another meaning. In Australian, it’s what you call a pacifier. Babies suck on the things.
    This features in one of the short stories in my anthology “Bizarre Bipeds” in a humorous way.

    1. Dear Dr. Bob,
      Thanks for writing and telling me another definition of “dummy” in Australia…a pacifier. So this mock-up is a way to pacify the author, illustrator, editor, publisher’s want to see what it will all look like. Cool!
      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up

  2. I’m glad you decided to post about calling picture book dummies “smarties.” You know how to turn things into positives. I make these more often than I used to. A “smartie” helps you see if a manuscript is shaping up nicely. I agree, that makes it a smart thing to do!

    1. Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. Thanks for complimenting me on how to turn things into positives. I like to do that. I taught school for 35 years and made it my personal mantra to help students realize that no one is a dummy. I think more people would make them if they were called “Smarties.” Thanks for being my friend and laughing with me.for the last 10 years!
      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up

  3. Smart idea to call them smarties. When I show students the dummies for my picture books, they always giggle and I turn that into a quick lesson on word usage. Strange how words evolve! Maybe your idea will catch on.

    1. Dear Gretchen,
      Thanks for writing. It’s good to hear from you. Thanks for saying it’s a smart idea to call them “smarties.” I hope you’re right and the idea does catch on. I understand how the students would giggle. What a wise teacher you are to share a lesson on word usage. Word Usage is very powerful!
      Celebrate you!
      Never Give Up

    1. Dear Sharon,
      Thanks for writing. It’s good to hear from you. I’m glad I posted what you need. I’m going to work on a pdf of this concept. Perhaps with little hints on the pages. You can paste your copy over mine. Do you think that would be helpful? Maybe I’d give that as a third gift for subscribing when I reach 300 subscribers. What do you think?
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

    1. Dear Susan,
      Thank you for writing. I’m honored that you saved it for future projects. You’re very welcome. Enjoy your day!
      Take time to celebrate you!
      Never Give Up

    1. Dear Janis,
      Thanks for writing. I am glad you liked the word “Smarty!”
      Do something fun today.
      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up

    1. Dear Darlene,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad that you believe “Smarty” is more uplifting!
      Celebrate you and your positive view on life,
      Never Give Up

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