Making a mock up

For this I choose another book that is part of my childhood/preteens.
It is called the Silver sword by Ian Serraillier.

Just as I was about to start this exercise on skillshare a recommended class popped up called “Illustrated lettering: Design a book cover” by Jessica Hische

This is a very interesting class which gave me deeper thoughts into target audience, while I watched as the point of this exercise with little tips for designing a mock up, I know will also be useful for exercises “A children’s book cover”, “text and image” and “working with Children” .

One of the interesting things in this class is Hische covers about publishing houses doing redesigns of the classics, such as penguin redesigning classic issue to look like graphic novels.

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
(Image copy of cover I own) – this book was read by my class teacher in year 4 of primary school, was a book I loved so much I got my dad to buy it for me years later.
While when I looked for the image to link on my learning log I came across redesigns of the cover. I want to keep my original reason for picking this and that is to make it appeal more to someone like my son and daughter.


“A classic story from World War Two, this tells how three children, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are helped by the young orphan Jan to escape from the horrors of Warsaw after the arrest of their parents. How the children travel across war torn Europe surviving every kind of danger and privation is thrilling and deeply moving. It is the story of a terrible time made bearable by the strong streak of humanity at its heart and by the unusual acts of kindness the children experience on their travels.”


I knew I didn’t need to get to deep into the design side as the intention of the exercise is to create a mock up so my plan is to make a fairly quick nice simple illustration that overall look will appeal to children literature today.
My thoughts is keep simple and design the pocket knife, sort of like to a Phillip Pullmans original cover design for The Subtle knife, however with a style that is more in tone with today trends (Something can see if walk into a bookstore)

My pinterest board started with research for the cover and grew into me discovering a new found love for classic book cover redesigns. Not only was it interesting in an illustrated sense for my target age group but for the layout for the mock up.
I admit that had to stop myself investigating too much at this stage as I am also aware that exercise “working for children” means I can cover this deeper.

Mock up book study

I did a study of book layouts, from books we have around the house looking at both text and visual layout elements. I find this completely interesting, I’ve always looked a book illustration as the art work and now I’m seeing them in a completely new way. I’m keen to get into this deeper, I have book design as one of my unit for year 1 so maybe this will be chance to explore even deeper and also an exercise this unit titled “working with children” to see if certain layouts target/appeal different age groups more.

Mainly inspired by the skillshare class I limited myself to three colours and almost designed as would be a special edition redesign, hardback and possibly foil with a paper back copy as well.

OCA Mock up

I do like it, wondering if I like it for the right reasons. Such as it is the colour palette that seems to appeal and fact it is different, simple than I would normally dare do.

In this style would I have been better giving the font more room, is there to much negative space at the top half, not enough visual interest in that area?
I do feel it isn’t completely out of place as an design, but could it be something more?

I will create this as the mock up design but I will also ask fellow student for views and depending on that if I will redesign as I do like it but as different than my normal thing I am not sure if others will visually find good. I know it is on the right path as I’m drawn to it thumbnail size, it feels like a Monet painting I like it from a distance but not sure up close.

I also ended up creating a version inspired by penguin designing classics as a manga feel I came up with this design, which I also like as has a diary of a wimpy kid feel which my son loves.

OCA Mock up v3

The second would appeal for more younger age group while the first older children range.

the silver sword mock up
Mockup psd created by freepik –
OCA mock up V4

Then I had a wonderful self discovery lesson in picking the mock up. I used free templates that I found on the internet.

I’ve been thinking will start to create my own in time and build up a collection of my own mock ups.

Anyway I’ve learnt that the colour has to suit your design and not take away.
The one with yellow backgound is a odd contrast and the thumb placement is over the name.
It is also a bit on the small size.

The second while looks nice, I think the items around add nothing to the design, the music does not relate to the story and a little pointless.
Also from the template side it was designed to go on to black so looked a bit odd and had to edit the colours and by doing this the edges wasn’t as “clean” and the book finish isn’t as high standard as I would have liked.

shortly after this I found a website called stockindesign and had a 80 best free mock up templates. From this list I was able to quickly find a simple, yet not “flat” template for my mock up. Enabling me to create my final draft as shown below.

OCA mock up v5

Design wise I think the illustration could do with more of a polish, cleaner and tighter text and possibly a colour pop. This exercise does not seem on the illustrated heavy side as it is about putting together a mock up / the placement and details. Never the less I like it to look nice.
I found this a very good exercise for me to gain some new skillset and to start me thinking more about placement, what works? and why?
I’m now looking at books in a new way these days!

Plus after a couple of serious exercises it was good to have a bit of fun illustrating and exploring something again.
Also making me excited for one of my level one units “book design”!

Credits, references and research

Book mock up – special thanks to free pix
Mockup psd created by freepik –

One thought on “Making a mock up

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