World Book Day: Creating a Personalised Children’s Book

It takes a lot of time and dedication to produce a personalised book. On average, we make 120,000 children’s books a year and 70,00 personalised books for adults. But, there’s a little more to it than that. Before you read on, check out our World Book Day Competition and find out how to win £100 worth of books!

During major occasions like Christmas, Easter and especially World Book Day, we can produce anything from 500 to 4,000 books a month (and that’s not taking into account birthdays, which, are non-stop)! In celebration of World Book Day on March 1st, we thought we would give our I Just Love It customers a sneak peek into our paper world.

From the hand-drawn illustrations to the machines that mould the paper into your personalised keepsakes, here’s how a personalised book is made. You can even take a look at some exceptional drawings from one of our team illustrators!



As you can see, the illustrators at IJLI are immensely talented. Depending on the tools used, the illustrating process takes serious dedication. Once a mock-up of any illustration is complete, there’s a rigorous editing process to make sure the images and text combine on the page.



From graphite pencils, fineliners, watercolour palates to oil pastels and crayons, the illustrators use a variety of artist’s tools depending on the child’s book. For educational books, block pictures and vibrantly coloured palates are used to make the book eye-catching and captivating for little ones.



For sketches that require more finesse, our artists use the highest quality graphic art tablets. The Wacom Cintiq’ is a 24” Graphic’s tablet, fit with a wireless, handy pro pen – this is what our illustrators use daily. The whole package is dazzling. It enables our artists to work on the matte surface of the tablets, gliding along the screens with the ultimate precision.



Quote from Sam, one of the main team illustrators:

“We use loads of varieties of watercolour, pencils etc. but in this case for the videos, we used ‘Derwent Coloursoft’ colouring pencils. The watercolours were St. Petersburg. Admittedly We like big artsy brands like ‘Faber-Castell’ and ‘Winsor and Newton’ for pencils and paintbrushes, but honestly, we try not to be too focused on getting the best stuff, as nice as it is! Priority is capturing good character and composition and telling the story the best we can.”



There’s no doubt our illustrators are completely dedicated to their art. The time it takes to produce the illustrations for any single book varies. Sometimes a few hours, sometimes a few days. But on average, to draft an entire book can take over a month, and with our typical children’s books containing at least 25 pages, that’s about a page a day!

How the Books are Made

Once we receive your order, production starts right at our warehouse in Scotland. Housing two polar guillotines, the highest quality gsm paper is trimmed and ready for the Canon/Oce i300. It’s a monster of a machine. This hungry contraption devours 300 A4 sheets per minute and prints about 15 million sheets a year, all of which pass through either of the four single clamp binders, capable of binding up to 150 books an hour each!

For any book produced as a hardback, there’s even more work to be done. Hardbacks cost a little extra because of the extensive process to make the books. Instead of high-quality printing paper, premium gsm paper is used in all hardbacks, produced in either of our Pralag / Praform machines. The machines specialise in hardback casing, able to produce a whopping 100 books an hour. Once a book is made, the final process leaves your book protected and secured thanks to the gift boxes.

How Are Your Books Personalised?

When personalising a book, we use specialist personalisation software (Direct Smile) to handle the variable data of each order. The sophisticated software not only allows us to add personalisation to text but also those incredible images you can see in the videos.

The whole process is automated and based on the use of templates. Once a template for a specific book has been created it is used over and over again by having the variable data fields populated for each order. The outcome of this process is the creation of print-ready pdf files. From here on we print and bind the books with operators keeping a watchful eye on production issues and quality.

At the very end of our manufacturing process and just prior to packing, we have a final quality inspection stage. Here an operator will visually check a book to ensure it meets our high standards. If for any reason it fails, the book will be re-made.