"Odessa funny guide for kids" is an activity book about Odessa city, Ukraine. This book is a perfect way to tell about the history of the city, learn interesting facts, draw, solve puzzles, play games and have a family walk around the city with the book in your hands. 
👉The book is 64 pages long and has the list of stickers.
👉Perfect gift for the tourist and the citizen of Odessa. 
👉3000+ books sold and happy readers who loved this book so far!
👉Recommended for 3-year-old children but as practice shows the adults find it interesting and fun as well!:) 
👉 Available in RU and UA languages.
I have been author and illustrator of the book together with fellow illustrator Natalya Chernobryvets. Idea of the book and the client is "Book" and its owner - Galyna Andreeva.
In June 2019 the book was chosen as “The best book of the fair at the category ‘Odessika’” at 20th Ukrainian book fair in Odessa region. There were 100+ participants at the competition and about 9 winners in different categories.​​​​​​​


How this project started? 
In December 2017 I was reading the article at Odessa news portal about the birthday of the local bookshop “Book”, one of the most beautiful book shops of the city. In the end there was a mention that the shop is searching for the illustrators. I felt it was a sign - “I need to come and show them my portfolio!” At that time I worked with Natalya Chernobryvets on a graphic novel together and went to the “Book” together as well. 
Luckily the owner of the “Book” shop Galyna Andreeva really liked my portfolio! As it turned out she has been searching for an illustrator for her book idea for a while. As she was a mother of 3 kids eager to learn history of native city, she decided it would be a great idea to make such a book on her own.  
So before we dove into the project together we had:
✔️general idea of the book from the client. It should be fun book about Odessa history and famous touristic places with possible use of stickers around 32 spreads. Children can draw in the book and interact with the book in different ways. Every spread should be devoted to different topic and should have a task for the kid.
✔️manuscript from the local historian Eugenie Grynkevitch about the history of Odessa -
40 pages long boring text.
✔️several examples of similar book projects to get inspired from.
✔️full freedom to include into the book what we thought was the most interesting about the city, places we loved, hidden gems of the city.​​​​​​​
Step 1 - Brainstorming
Right after meeting with the client we went to our "internal meeting" with Natalya and prepared more detailed list of the topics we want to include. In an hour the table of content was ready - you can see it on the photo above. It is easy to think of the most important things in your native city you know as your fingers:) 
We chose the two topics to work on as the test task - Odessa beaches and Starokonka, local flea market, and sent our proposal to "Book". ​​​​​​​
Step 2 - Two test spreads
That was more a test task for me and Natalya as we were choosing the best approach of working in parallel on shared book project. Each of us has her own strong sides and we need to count on them. Each of us can draw the spread from sketch to the final but in this way the spreads might look too different. 
So we chose the following process:
✔️each of us chooses the spreads/topics she is more interested in and she is making research of it, initial sketches, inventing kids activities, writes texts. I was making sketches mainly on laptop, and Natalya is more traditional painter and did all on paper which she later scanned and sent me digitally.
✔️With my advanced skillset as a graphic/web designer I was responsible for the layout. As there aren't many pages and lots of infographics planned I chose Adobe Illustrator for handling book project. Also I was a copywriter and was rewriting the text so that it reads easily and was fun and short. So all jokes there are mine (sorry if you didn't laugh or did not get them, it is part of Odessa weird humour).  
✔️Natalya had strong hand so she was outlining all the illustrations and set up the lightning in Photoshop.
✔️After that I moved to coloring of the outlines in Adobe Photoshop.
Should I tell that in process of making the test task we wanted to quit this project several times?😅 But as the result these two spreads were used in the book without significant changes.
Step 3 - First manuscript
After the test task was approved and the contract has been signed together with technical task, me and Natalya dove into the sketching and research phase. Each of us chose the themes we liked to draw more. We did spreads in random order actually. In the end when all sketches were made I ordered them in the logical way and we could check if the pages rhythm is good and the kids activities vary from page to page. 

My sketches do not look very fancy, I know. But these are enough for me to know what to sketch on my laptop more detailed. The deadlines for making a book were tough and we worked very quickly -
I tried to sketch at least one spread a day or more. I remember going to the countryside to work on fresh air and finish the last spreads which were on me from the list.
I did 8 spreads sketches for 3 days:) Crazy:) 
Step 4 - Listen to the client needs
We reviewed the manuscript with the client and waited for their feedback. Ok, we waited longer than expected week as it was July, season of holidays, so we got all the feedback 3 months later. 
✔️We generated more interesting activities for the kids to do with a book. Some spreads were removed, united with others or replaced with better idea.
✔️We added the cute homeless cat Vasya which accompanies child on each spread. 
✔️Also the book became wider - I had to rearrange all the spreads for different proportion. 
The manuscript was reviewed by local expert in history of the city Eugeny Grynkevych, by local botanist, ornitologist, ship mechanic, by group of mothers and their young readers. Famous local chief Saveliy Libkin gave his recipe of Odessa Napoleon cake for the book. So yes - it took 3 months extra for sketches but it was worth it.​​​​​​​
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Final version of the manuscript before moving to coloring.




I made a seamless pattern out of Natalya's outlines which fills the flyleaf of the book 
Step 5 - Coloring
While Natalya was making clean outlines and lightning per each spread I was coloring them and updating the final Adobe Illustrator book project. 
This project becomes too long to share the story behind each spread, but I want to share the process of creating my favourite spreads - from idea to final spread in the book.​​​​​​​


BEHIND THE SCENES

About Odessa language
This spread takes the first place among the most complicated spreads which do not work out. Natalya worked on it in the beginning, then me again, then again Natalya. 
First version was about local humor. The jokes we chose were hard to be understood by foreigners so we got rid of that idea.
Then we decided to leave only one joke which was fine and add info about special pronunciation of "OdEssa" E letter. Later we decided to unite the language topic with Odessa famous songs and jazz history. Added the playful game with throwing the bone. And then our manager Oksana Oklander gave us the book with old Odessa words and we created this spread only around the unusual Odessa idioms. 
  


About Opera House
This spread is the mix of my childhood memories - firstly because this is the most beautiful building I've ever seen being a kid - the interior and exterior is luxurious. Also I remember those weird ugly trees aside of the house. Behind there is cosy yard and I remember the wedding celebration of my sister there 7 years ago. 
As I am urban sketcher I drew Opera house from different angles and was afraid to draw the full building for a while and now it is the time!:) 
This spread was a great opportunity to combine all into one picture, learn new facts about the history and tell them to kids in a fun way. So kids will know that those are Soforas Japanese growing near the building, the Palais Royal is translated as "king's palace" and I gave kids a chance to color the famous Opera house.​​​​​​​


About Primorskiy Boulevard
That is a fun thing that we forgot to add the spread about the number one touristic street as it was so common to us:) 
When I worked on this spread I collected so much information that it did not fit on one sheet so in the final version there are only the names of the famous places. 
Another story is that we were working on the book while the Greek park was under construction and there was no definite information of the architectural plan available online. So I drew one of the versions I found. Later just before moving to coloring of this spread we found information that other project is being implemented. And we had to redraw this part twice. Who knew:) The other project I drew was prettier. ​​​​​​​

About old doors
I collected the adresses of beautiful old doors I could find online. That would be sad if children will come to that adress found in the book and would not find that door. So I devoted one day to inspection of the old doors. Luckily all of them were on its places and of the same color so I did not have to make any changes to the spread. Also due to this walk I had several addresses of the cosy Odessa yards for another spread to mention there. ​​​​​​​

About Odessa markets
The first thing I drew for this spread was the sketch of the woman selling vegetables at "Privoz". While working on the character for "Novy rynok" I thought of the seller from the market I visit near my house. It is an Armenian guy - always smiling and greeting everyone. You just want to come and say hi because of his nice smile. 
On older sketches we had also the dark-skined seller from "Odessa food market". But that idea was denied by the client as it seemed to look too much like an ad of that place. 
Our consultant in history of the city Eugenie Grynkevytch helped here a lot and gave nice stories about Privoz to include here and make it look fun.​​​​​​​

About Odessa Kitchen
Another problematic spread was about food. The first version was about the table flat lay with traditional dishes and the recipe. We had doubts either to include the recipe of borsh which is Ukrainian traditional soup but ended up with desert. In the first version I included the recipe of my mother's Napoleon cake.
Later the manuscript was read by Saveliy Libkin, the famous Odessa restaurant owner. He was eager to participate in the book creation. Besides giving his own recipe of the Napoleon he also gave photos of the trully Odessa meals. In one of the versions of the sketches we have the background with his odessa cuisine restaurant "Dacha" but in the final version the client decided that it looked too commercial and we changed that.
Actually I can say a story about each spread but then this project will be way too long as there are 32 spreads + the cover + stickers. Ok, I will show also the cover:​​​​​​​




Step XXX - Final details
As we were making the book from idea to the end by giving the print-ready files to the printing company there was some extra work in between and after the launch of the book:
✔️making the stickers out of book illustrations; 
✔️preparing the cover for selective glance lamination;  
✔️we made the huge expandable map that should go inside the book;
✔️I've also updated the project with Ukrainian translation.
Get your book now



👉You can purchase the book online (available in RU & UA): http://bit.ly/odessaguide
👉And locally at the "Book" bookshop: Odessa, Vitse-Admirala Zhukova Ln, 3/7, Odesa, Ukraine​​​​​​​

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