Tuesday, May 8, 2018

twelve part picture book process for authors and/or illustrators

Everyone has a different way they create picture books. I've been working on new picture book ideas lately and decided to outline my process below.

(Note: If you're looking for help on how to write picture books, or want a more detailed post with tips, check out this previous post: How To Write A Picture Book In Twelve Easy Steps.)

This is an outline of my current process:
(subject to change depending on the book or if I find a better way)

Twelve Part Picture Book Process:

1. PB idea (either an idea by itself or from drawing/doodling a character or scene)

2. research*

3. decide that I can NOT draw and/or write it, or DON'T want to

4. write idea down in case I learn how to draw and/or write it later, or I change my mind

5. new PB idea

6. research*

7. decide that I CAN and/or WANT TO draw / write it! Yay!

8. write and revise
(Sometimes I add: 8b. send to agent for feedback before step 9, and then revise again and repeat until it works.)

9. create and revise sketches and PB dummy**
(Sometimes I add: 9b. send to agent for feedback before step 10, and then revise again and repeat until it works.)

10. make 2-3 pgs of final art

11. send out
(Send to agent first, revise until it works, then submit to publishers when it's ready.)

12. rinse and repeat

What's your process?

Happy Picture Book Making!

* Research Note: Research includes (but is not limited to), finding information on the subject of the book you're writing, finding out whether or not there are other books on your topic (+ thinking about how yours will be different if there are lots of them, or how yours will introduce topic if there aren't any), and reading mentor picture books. Mentor books are books that are similar to the one you are trying to write, whether it's the subject of the book, the story, the style written, age group, etc. Also, research can and usually does happen again during the writing / drawing stages.

** Dummy Note: Authors can benefit from making simple dummies to see where page turns might fall and whether or not they have enough content for a picture book. You can do this even if you can't draw. You don't even have to include drawings, you can just put the words on the page. Or if you want, you can draw stick figures. These mock ups are for personal use in the writing process and not to send to publishers, unless you're also an illustrator.

If you're interested in becoming a picture book illustrator and/or writer, here are some of my past posts that might help:

How To Write A Picture Book In Twelve Easy Steps

The Path Illustrators Take To Get Their Work Noticed And Advance Their Careers

Five Tips For Illustrators  

The Importance Of Making Art For Fun

Three Ways To Make A Picture Book Dummy 

Ten Tips For Choosing What To Draw For Your Portfolio, And Ten Ways To Find Inspiration

If You Just Want To Illustrate And Not Write