How I used Midjourney + ChatGPT to create a kids book within 5 hours
My nephew loves Paw Patrol. He asks anyone to read the same Paw Patrol story over and over again. So, I thought, wouldn’t it be a mind blowingly cool idea to create a Paw Patrol story with familiar characters as the protagonists?
This thought came up last Summer (of ‘22), when I thought of a gift for my nephew’s upcoming birthday. Earlier, I had created various kids books for him with Paint.
I loved the process but didn’t want to use Paint again as it would take me forever to create the Paw Patrol pups one by one. I then thought of using Canva, that provided a nice alternative creating a book using icons. Earlier I had used it to launch my kids book as an e-book with different versions on Amazon NL, Amazon US and Amazon UK ( it never made a dime).
But that too, would take too long. So I abandoned the idea and got him another gift.
Fast forward a few months and everyone starts talking about Midjourney. It is supposedly this amazing image generation tool that creates super high quality images. I decided to give it a go and see what it would generate. The results blew me away.
Here’s how I created my kids book within a couple of hours.
The main goal was to create a funny Paw Patrol story to see how different AI tools could help me produce this book fast. So I asked ChatGPT for storyline input:
Step 1. Use ChatGPT to create a storyline fast
To tweak it further, I asked ChatGPT to create a normal story rather than a rhyme, and to turn it into present tense.
With this input, I could use my imagination to structure the images.
Step 2. Use Midjourney to generate the images for the kids book
After some research on how to use Midjourney (You have to download Discord, a chatbot that Midjourney uses to generate images based on your input, and then work from there, rather than from Midjourney’s website), I was up and running with the ‘/imagine’ prompt. I kept these two Midjourney Quick Start pages open during my image generations:
To get into the flow, my first prompt was a generic Paw Patrol prompt:
As the goal was to use myself as the Paw Patrol victim to rescue, I wanted to see what effect Midjourney could have on turning a specific emotion of a picture into a different one.
Note: whenever I refer to “[image web url]” below, I refer to a URL of my website’s media library that hosts my media. Midjourney requires image urls as input if you want to use an image as input for prompts.
Prompt: “/imagine [image web url] girl in picture looks sad” , using the image from my website below.
I was pretty mind blown. The generated girl actually looked like me. And she looked relatively sad, as requested.
Now it was time to start image generation for my book.
My first kids book prompt had to involve an image of me, in combination with a Paw Patrol reference:
Prompt: “/imagine [web image url] place this girl in a paw patrol setting with green grass”
Really not bad, I was looking at myself as a Paw Patrol figure, especially image 2 (top right), looked pretty amazing!
Then I wanted to see how the image would change if I referred to Ryder, the only main character that is not a pup.
Holy shit! The girls look even better than in my previous prompt! The first image I pick is image 3 (left below).
As at one point in my story I am in trouble, I needed a sad looking picture of me in Paw Patrol setting:
I choose image 1 as it most resembles the girl I picked earlier.
Then it was time for the next level: I wanted to put some images together for the actual Paw Patrol shot with Ryder. I used these two images with the BLEND prompt. The blend prompt allows you to blend 2 images (up to 5 I believe). You can’t add any further instruction when using this prompt. At least not at the time of writing this (using version 4).
Prompt: “/blend [web image url 1][web image url 2]
The result was this:
Not entirely what I wanted, as it was not my goal to turn Ryder into a pup, but rather to add Ryder to the image with the pups. I hence discovered the first limitation of Midjourney, but hey, you can’t have it all.
Some more trials:
In the end I decided to go for this one:
I was then looking for a shot of Skye (one of the pups who owns a helicopter) looking at my boat from a bird eye view. I again tried the ‘blend’ command:
Again, rather than adding the two pictures together, it really blended them, which I guess is what the command is for. The command just doesn’t work as how I had imagined it.
Instead I used a basic text prompt to generate an image of Skye looking for me:
Continuing, I needed an image of me being excited to know the pups will rescue me, again with a ‘blend’ prompt. I started with these images:
Not what I wanted. Another few iterations:
In the end I gave up and picked image 2 of last prompt, as she looked most like the other generated girls.
Once I am rescued, I wanted to show an image of me in Zuma’s rescue boat, and used ‘blend’ again. Again, without luck. Here are my 2 input images, the goal: me in Zuma’s boat, with Zuma also on the image.
Result: Instead of combining me and Zuma and the boat, I was turned into a pup:
So I went for the alternative image prompt:
Prompt: “/imagine [web image url] in resuce boat with zuma paw patrol setting.
Pretty neat. I chose image 2.
As the final celebration image of me arriving safe and sound back home, I wanted an image of everyone celebrating. It wasn’t straightforward:
I gave up and changed the storyline to fit to an earlier generated image.
Step 3: Create the image + storyline overview with Canva
I used Canva to create the overview of all the images and the storyline per page, so that I knew which image to paste where in the final book.
Step 4. Use any photobook tool to create the final book + print it
I usually use Albelli to create my kids books, but I found it an expensive option for the experiment I was undertaking (easily 40 euros per book ex shipping fees). So I ended up using HEMA Photoservice that offers a small photo book for only 9 euros. The idea was not to be fancy, but rather to offer this book to my nephew as a cool and funny gift.
Here is the final result, generated via Canva:
I’m blown away by the speed and quality with which we can create images with Midjourney v4. Anyone can create a kids book within hours and print it or sell it on Amazon with Kindle Direct Publishing (or use the images for plenty of other types of projects).
Even though I miss a ‘combine’ function in Midjourney, I’m extremely impressed with the available options to create the images of your dreams, and I’m sure it won’t be long before we can actually combine pictures.
And how cool to create a cartoon version of yourself via AI?!
One thing I immediately noticed is that my cartoon version looks more beautiful than me in real life (frightening?!). Look at this image in particular, the girl really looks like me, yet has plumper lips, and a more flawless skin:
Conclusion: I highly recommend using Midjourney for a fun experimental project!
Note: I haven’t used ChatGPT to generate any copy for this article / title.