Design + Illustration

Kid President's Guide to Being Awesome - Book Design, Editorial Illustration by Russell Shaw

Behind the scenes look at the design and illustration for Kid President's New York Times Best-Selling book "Guide to Being Awesome" featuring hand drawn illustrations, lettering, paper craft sets, and fun photoshoots.

Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome

Services: Editorial Illustration, Photography, Papercraft, Lettering, Print Design

 Hand drawn illustration and letter title for Kid President's guide to being awesome book title with lightning bolt, paper airplanes, scroll

From YouTube sensation to Hub Network summer series star, Kid President—ten-year-old Robby Novak—and his videos have inspired millions to dance more, to celebrate life, and to throw spontaneous parades.

In his Guide to Being Awesome, Kid President pulls together lists of awesome ideas to help the world, awesome interviews with his awesome celebrity friends (he has interviewed Beyoncé!), and a step-by-step guide to make pretty much everything a little bit awesomer. Grab a corn dog and settle in to your favorite comfy chair. Pretend it's your birthday! (In fact, treat everyone like it's THEIR birthday!) Kid President is here with a 240-page, full-color Guide to Being Awesome that'll spread love and inspire the world.


So many hours of hand-lettering, papercrafting, silly-face-photoshooting, and endless doodling!

The book has hand-lettering on nearly every page, and intricate and detailed objects and sets made out of paper litter the book – resulting in an experience that is vibrant, youthful and fun.

Working with Robby and Brad on the art and design of the book was an absolute joy. They infectiously inspire creativity and positivity, and it shaped the direction of all of the work into a book that is full of their personality and sense of wonder.

The book made the New York Times Best-Seller List in Feb. 2015 and remained for five consecutive weeks.

 Kid President robby novak and brad montague book guide to being awesome cover design and illustration by Russell Shaw
 French fold cover on Kid President book lift to reveal a secret hardcover design illustrated by Russell Shaw

The book's French-fold jacket comes off to reveal a hidden cover showing the messiness and DIY-style signature to Kid President.

 Kid President's guide to being awesome book hardcover illustration and design
 Back cover design of dust jacket for kid president book
 Keep Going brush lettering by hand on hardcover back design of kid president book underneath the dust jacket french fold flap
 Front of end page for kid president's guide to being awesome with hand lettered titles in blue ink.
 Back of end page for kid president's guide to being awesome with hand lettering and hand drawn illustration of chapter heads.
 Three dimensional (3D) paper craft cut out letters "awesome," and a brief history of awesome hand drawn illustrated timeline by russell shaw for kid president's book.

A Pep Talk from Kid President to You

Kid President's classic Pep Talk was reimagined as a series of illustrations in a quirky, child-like style. Charcoals were used to create all of the line work, and a limited color palette as well as a new set of custom textures overlaid the charcoal lines.

 Colorful, children's story book style illustrations in charcoal, for Kid President's Pep talk.
 Life is not a game, people. Life isn't a cereal, either. Well it is a cereal. And if life is a game, are we on the same team? I mean really, right? I'm on your team. Be on my team. Kid president illustration pep talk.
 Not cool, Robert Frost. Pep talk kid president illustration.
 Keep going kid president skywriting plane illustration of pep talk. Get a better dream, then keep going, keep going, keep going.

Chapter Layouts

 Chapter One Life is what happens when you put down your phone. Kid President book chapter header full spread, papercraft paper cut hand made cell phone mountain and trees.
 "An illustrated guide to high-fives," features an encyclopedia-style hand drawn infographic about how to give high fives, illustrated by russell shaw for kid president book guide to being awesome

An illustrated guide to high-fives.

 "the traditional" "the low five" "the fist bump" "the turkey" hand drawn illustrated guide to high fives kid president book
 "The long jump," "the virtual high five," "the hand hug," and "the awkward velociraptor" hand drawn illustrated guide to high fives kid president book
 #10 As human beings, we are capable of lots of bad stuff, but also cupcakes. Brush hand lettering cupcake photo kid president book guide to being awesome illustrated and designed by Russell Shaw
 #13 every time you see a slide, go down it. #14 sing out loud, you don't have to have a reason. #15 laugh, help end global sadness. hand illustrated drawn brush lettering and paper craft for kid president full spread book editorial design.
 #27 Sacrifice. Let someone else have the toy in the cereal. Brush hand lettering paint on photo kid president and sister sharing cereal.
 Chapter Three: Treat everybody like it's their birthday. Chapter divider header full spread photography, kid president reaches for a cupcake cake slice made out of paper and cardboard on a red background.
 #18 Kid President Mail, Mail your friend a corndog, cardboard and paper cut by hand illustration and design for kid president editorial book.
 kid president corndog recipe cards, veggie corndog and pizza roll, photo of kitchen counter top down view
 Blah blah blah Chapter Four: Talk Gooder chapter header and divider cardboard cut out and hand lettering
 #8. Hello person I've never met before. Here's a high five! and #7 My sports team is not always the best sports team. This one is extra tough it takes a big person to say that. Editorial illustrations by russell shaw for kid president book
 Kid President's guide to being awesome #58 Be like cheese or bacon and make everything you touch better. Paper craft cut out cheese and bacon with brush lettering by hand title
 paper cut and craft set of kid president standing on the earth in outer space stars, title of the chapter divider and section header for the book, "Wanna be a world changer? Be a day maker!"
 brush lettering hand drawn type letters of "#54 Help Somebody who is younger than you," kid president and his brother

Encyclopedia-style, hand-drawn illustrations for "The Very Important Chart of Hugs," used on the spread telling everyone to give out more free hugs!

 "The Very Important Chart of Hugs" for Kid President's guide to being awesome. Encyclopedia style hand illustration drawings of types of hugs, by Russell Shaw. "Classic Hug!" "Bro Hug!" "Bear Hug!" "The Frankenstein!" "The I'm holding a bunch of stuff, but I'll still hug you, I guess Hug!" "The Headlock Hug!" "The Awkward Side Hug!" "The Awkward Side Bear Hug!" "The I love this book so much I have to hug it Hug!"
 Kid President chapter six be a party chapter header and section divider made out of paper cut and craft by hand pinata disco ball dance hats confetti and balloons for book
 Kid President Chapter 7 Make Something paper craft and hand hut letters and 3d three dimensional cutting board photograph with his hand holding a brush, section divider for book Guide to Being Awesome, made by Russell Shaw
 Kid President chapter eight lick the walls of the white house paper craft oval office flag and chapter header divider section for book
 #62 Give the world a reason to dance, it's everybody's duty to do that. Kid president dancing photos full spread for Guide to being awesome book, with brush hand lettering along the top.
 time machine made out of paper, for chapter ten Change the Future of Kid President book, starburst in background.
 time machine made out of paper, for chapter ten Change the Future of Kid President book, starburst in background.
 Cardboard cut out letters for Kid President's guide to being awesome #99 Remember that the world is bigger than your backyard.

The title for "Remember That the World is Bigger Than Your Backyard" was first designed by hand, then cut out of cardboard, and overlays a photo by Kristi of her and Brad's backyard — the shadows on the photo and texture of the cardboard letters is more natural that way.


A New Pep Talk

The same style of the original illustrated pep talk was applied to "A New Pep Talk," allowing the two children's book-style sections to bookend the 100 ideas to make the world more awesome.

 children's story book style illustration charcoal and colorful kid president's guide to being awesome a new pep talk

Behind The Scenes


"Kid President's Guide to Being Awesome" is written by Brad Montague and Robby Novak

Creative Direction: SoulPancake – Golriz Lucina and Shabnam Mogharabi
Art Direction/Project Management: Kristi Montague
Designer/Illustrator: Russell Shaw
Copywriting: Rob Franks
Project Management Assistant: Bethany Eldridge

Jacket Photography: Kristi Montague
Jacket Design: Russell Shaw with Irene Wang

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publisher Team: Dave Linker, Becca Webster, Emily Brenner, Nancy Inteli, Matt Schweitzer, Julie Eckstein, Cindy Hamilton

All Photographs by Kristi Montague (unless otherwise noted)

All Illustrations by Russell Shaw (unless otherwise noted)

Papercraft by Kristi Montague, Russell Shaw, Katie England and Bethany Eldridge