Posted 08.10.2010

Designing the CentriKid Camper Devotional Book

Now that the summer is over, I’ve enjoyed sharing some of the things I’ve been working on throughout the year, such as the CentriKid staff photo, the CentriKid set, and the Bon Appetit theme logo and art direction.

Well, add the CentriKid camper devotional book to that list.

Like the set, I drew everything first in my moleskine, scanned it in, and then traced it on the computer, in Illustrator. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, I’m not as good at freehanding it on the computer. Second, (and more important) when you create things on the computer, they tend to look perfect, exact. Take a straight line, for example. I can draw the straightest line you’ve ever seen on the computer. Click and drag. Cake. Give me a pen (no ruler), I’ll draw a “straight” line. It will have waves. I couldn’t draw a truly straight line if my life depended on it. —part of the kid art direction this year celebrated those waves. It embraaced the jagged edges and crooked angles. It was easier for me to keep the integrity of those lines if I drew it by hand first.

Moleskine Drawings

I did a lot of visual research for this project. First off, if you’re not a graphic designer, you may giggle at the term “visual research.” I know when we throw it around at work, people snicker because it sounds like a fluff task, an excuse to play around online, but there is so much value there. When I went to a design conference at the beginning of June one of the things they talked about was your art collection, images of things (or the actual objects themseves) that inspired you, challenged you, things you admired. A big chunk of graphic design is being able to make connections with things that you’ve already seen.

So I googled pictures of chefs, trying to think of new poses I could put the characters in. See the sprinkling in the bottom left picture, look familar? Look at the drawing included above

Chefs Collage

I also spent a lot of time going through Flickr. There are several collections there where users have uploaded pictures of vintage cookbooks. — These proved invaluable.

Vintage Cookbooks

Vintage Cookbooks

The first thing I designed was the cover. It actually went through several variations before we finally landed on the one that went to print.

This one was never finalized. You can tell, I’m struggling with spacing with the logo and title of the book.

I made headway here, by moving the logo to the top. But, I’m still struggling with spacing with this cover.

This one is getting close. I haven’t added the circle around the logo and the CentriKid logo is at the bottom on the back cover.

Here’s the final.—Definitely the strongest option. It’s all part of the process.

Then, I began to lay out the copy. —and there was a ton of copy! That’s the thing about working for a publishing company, they their love copy.

In some cases, I could pull from the library of characters I had already created and design the page layouts with them in place. But, on other pages, I added the characters last. I printed out what I had already designed and overlaid tracing paper and drew the characters on the tracing paper to see if I could get the positioning and spacing right.

The thing that I loved about this project was I was able to interject some of my personality and hide some easter eggs.

When I was working on the copyright page, I was trying to figure out what to write. I couldn’t delete that page, we had to have it. So, I included “boring copyright information, the lawyers made us” — which is so true!

For the memory card cutouts page, I put “cut along the jagged line.” When, I was creating it, I thought “this sure is a jagged line more than a dotted line.” —So I used that.

Cut Along the Jagged Line

A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen? Anyone?

A Clean Kitchen

The last few pages were reserved for notes. When, I was creating it, I thought, “How many kids are actually going to take notes? They will draw all over these pages.” So, I wrote “Notes or Doodles.” *Plus, I got to draw a pie in the face

If you look carefully in the bowl of alphabet soup, I hid my name. grin

Amy in Alphabet Soup

I’ve already started working on next year’s theme, Shipwreck Island. In fact, yesterday, we finalized the logo. It should be a fun project too.


  • Trinity Whitley

    O.M.G. (yes that’s right I still say that) – i was a little braggy before hand…

    “Debbie, these devo books and the art on the stage background,  I know the girl who created it all. She’s super talented.  We worked camp together.”  (Debbie was my other female chaperone for the week)

    But these last few post have sent me passed my “I know her” and pushed me into “I wish I was her!” You are so gifted.  I love seeing how your mind works.  My favorite part, was learning that you really do it by hand and then put it into illustrator.  Because yesterdays post, with the blue chic and the food critic, I said to Thomas “I wonder how she does this? It looks like her drawings from hand.”  Sure enough, it’s cause it kinda was. 

    Anyway. You rock.  When I grow up I want to be able to do 1/10 of what Amy Haywood can do when it comes to graphics.

  • Amy

    @Trinity Thanks for your words of encouragement! It really does mean a lot. As I said the other day, I think all creatives have this fear that the last project will be just that, their last. I’ve been pulling teeth on some stuff I’m working on right now, so I really do appreciate your encouragement.

  • Brittany

    Amy, this is FANTASTIC!  I seriously think this one of the most well-designed covers ever.  I am probably completely biased because 1) I love all things kitchen-related, and 2) I think you are amazing.  Thanks for sharing this, it has flipped a creative switch for me today!

  • denise webster 13

    this camp was alsome