Art + Design

How These Finger Puppet Books Are Made

Designer Alice Seiler shows us how our baby finger puppet books are made, from early sketches to the final product.

Our baby finger puppet books are adorable, cuddly novelty books for the littlest readers. Illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Huang, these books are full of no-holds-barred cuteness—they combine irresistible art with simple, child-friendly text, along with a plush finger puppet that peeks through die-cuts on each spread.

Baby finger puppet books

Designing these books is a real treat. They never fail to make me smile, and working with fabric and embroidery brings a twist to the usual book design process. Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at how we transform an illustration into a plush puppet.

Baby finger puppet books

We’ll take a closer look at the design of our two most recent characters: Baby Chipmunk and Baby Giraffe.

First, the illustrator sends us sketches of the puppet heads.

Baby finger puppet books

We might refine them a little, often simplifying them to work as plush designs.

We then send the color illustrations to a manufacturer. 

Babyfingerpuppetbooks A week or so later, photos of the first round of puppets land in my inbox!

Babyfingerpuppetbooks

I edit the photos to show how we’d like to revise the puppets. We send our notes to the manufacturer and wait for the next round.

Baby finger puppet books

Like anything, this process involves trial and error. Some of our ideas don’t work (Baby Chipmunk’s buck teeth!), and sometimes it takes a few iterations to land the right proportions or colors.

Baby finger puppet books

While we work on the puppets, the illustrator finalizes the art.

Baby finger puppet books

Surprise! The illustrations don’t have heads!

Finally, the finished book brings the puppet and illustration together, creating a sweet scene:

Baby finger puppet books

The process is the same for Baby Giraffe, but this puppet came together much more quickly. We tried two types of ears—folded and flat. We also tried printed fabric and embroidered patches. Folded ears and printed fabric were clear winners!

Baby finger puppet books

Here’s a headless giraffe, bounding through the savannah.

Baby finger puppet books

And, at last, the finished product:

Baby finger puppet books

There are so many cute critters in the series and more to come! I wish I could share the puppets from our next titles, but let’s just say there’s an endearing little guy with BIG, fuzzy ears coming your way in Spring 2018. Can you guess the animal?

To read more about all things design at Chronicle books, visit here.

Alice Seiler

Children’s Designer at Chronicle Books

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