Sunday, November 25, 2007

Picture Book Layout

While I patiently wait to hear back from my editor regarding my current picture book project, The Ninja Book, it is time for me to start laying out my new project. I'll call it The Coat Book. (I never use the real titles in my posts because I don't know if the titles will change. So I use working titles.)My process is basically this. I write the story first - having some illustrations in mind - but basically I'm just looking for a coherent text. Then I workshop it with my online critique group for a few weeks - and by "weeks" I mean "turns". It will actually take a few months for my manuscript to go through 2 - 4 times. By then the story may not be perfect, but it's good enough for me to get started on the art.

Above you see a big piece of foam board with pages drawn out in Sharpie marker and numbered. Most picture books pages are a number of 8, like 24 pages or 32 pages. I aim for 32 pages - and this has to fit in title page and copyright info and all that jazz - so I try not to start the story until page 3 or 5. Then I just go through my manuscript and break things up where I think it is natural to do so. I sketch out crude images on post-it notes and place them on the board. When I'm about mid-way through, I jump to the back and go backwards. If I'm lucky, they'll line up perfectly in the middle. I have never been that lucky.

Now I have to go through and figure out what can stretch and what can crunch. This is where it's nice to have the post it notes that I use for the pages. I can move them around or just through them out. And I basically keep at it until I think I've got all the important stuff in there.

It's probably my least favorite thing to do - and it might take me a few days to get it right. But I also get a lot of ideas from the process and an occasional Eureka! moment - and those are always nice.

From this point, I begin working on my dummy book. For more on that topic, please check out my MySpace page:

1 comment:

äiti said...

Interesting! I never knew about the starting from the front and then jumping to starting from the back.