I agree with B. Overall a lovely look and with a bit of refinement, it is just the sort of thing I would commission. I also agree regarding the typography. However, type is a discipline in itself. That is not to say don’t learn good practice, but either one – illustration or typography – can take a lifetime to perfect.
As B says, for a kids’ book, the layout is too rigid and formal. More magazine than kids’ book. That said, arguably, it is not something you should really worry about too much. Unless illustrated type is part of a particular design and you are commissioned to do it. As an illustrator, unless it is a self-initiated project like your cephalopod, in reality you will likely get a very specific brief and the type and layout would not really be part of your remit.
For years, a good chunk of my work has been educational, non-fiction children’s book design. These days more adult trade non-fiction, coffee-table, type books, but same principles apply. Each market has a very specific tone of voice and typically, it is the designer’s job to set this. This will include illustration style. Either the publisher will have chosen the illustrator they want for the project, or the designer will suggest a few and the publisher have the final say. Kids’ books go through tons of focus groups and levelling to get the tone just right for the age group.
After this, if the illustrations aren’t a fait accompli, and provided as finished pieces a designer has to work with (rare, but it can happen), then the designer will usually get text and any photos (commissioned or stock), put together as first layout with instructions/a thorough brief in position for each illustration.
The next stage would be for the illustrator to drop in a pencil sketch so that at first proof it can be approved, or revised, in terms of content, positioning, etc. After that, depending on complexity / content / publisher workflow, it would either go to final, or sometimes an intermediate, blocked in colour sketch.
So, things like where tentacles are to interact with type would usually be part of the design brief anyway and it is unlikely to be the illustrators volition. That said, the most successful projects I have worked on and the best illustrators, usually involve a collaboration, in that, when a brief is sent, sometimes further suggestions are made by the illustrator.
That is the basic project methodology I’ve worked to over the years. Each publisher is different and have their own idiosyncrasies, but, that roughly how they all work.
I am not suggesting you don’t need to have an understanding of type and print production (this latter is an absolute must) because you will make the designers job easier and the project a lot smoother.
There is such a marked difference between illustrators who understand the production process and those who don’t. As a designer, you know straight away who ‘gets it’ and who doesn’t. The first make you sigh with relief, the second make you face-plant your desk. I will ALWAYS pick an illustrator, who understands, bleed, CMYK vs RGB colour gamuts, gutters, etc, etc.
As an aside, my one pet hates, typographically, is indented first paras. As B suggests, a 2-line drop cap, or just full-out is far better. As you have done it here leaves a jarring misaligned hole at the beginning of a block of text, which immediately leaves the reader with a sense of disharmony. The type needs to put the reader at ease.
As Mr Frutiger once said, ‘If you remember the shape of your spoon at lunch, it has to be the wrong shape.’ Cutlery has to be unnoticeable in aiding the way you eat and ideally, invisibly improve the taste – as correct wine glass improves the taste of the wine. Typography is the same.
Hope this helps