HOW BOOKS ARE MADE

Hello, YOU! Welcome here! This is my book-making process from start to finish in ten steps. Everyone’s journey is different, and we all do this different ways, but here’s mine!

P.S. In case you want to know - authors don’t find illustrators for their stories. Publishers are the experts at finding the right artist for the right words. Different stories, different styles! And remember, authors ‘see’ in words rather than in ‘pictures’ like an artist does.

When we love the words, our creativity flows. We make those words our own baby and can ‘see’ how to bring the story alive – so that in the end it looks like we did the whole thing ourselves. It’s a different kind of teamwork!

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Book Process: Step 1

a) READ the manuscript with open eyes of wonder. If it doesn’t make my heart sing and images pop into my head, I shouldn’t say yes. Eric Ode’s manuscript made me think, “Oh! It’s DELICIOUS!”

b) READ IT AGAIN and again and again; it soon fills my head with pictures. I doodle whatever pops into my head, especially characters and setting (where they are). Then I look at a gazillion good picture-books and carefully note how they laid out pages (composition) and used colors – tossing ideas and colors around in my head. It’s a time of long hard thinking.

Summary: a) Read b) Read/doodle c) Photos

AND THINK A LOT!

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c) PHOTO COLLECTION begins. Find many photos of characters and landscapes (the ‘setting’) to look at for their shapes, colors, etc. I organize in files on my computer.

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Storyboard Plan: Step 2

d) MARK UP the manuscript where I think pages should start/stop. Note any ideas, like pages with no words or double-spreads. Sketch character ideas. Think a lot. By now, ideas start to flow in the car, the shower, at church, at work…(oops!)

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e) SKETCH a few a storyboard ideas on one sheet, with pages 1.5” wide, to fit the right number of pages (usually 32; publisher tells me). Divide the text to make good page-turns and enough white space (resting places), then plan the composition. Meanwhile, great books are laid out all over the place to give me inspiration. Sometimes I’ll sketch

a page 5-6 different ways. This is a time of long hard thinking. Ideas come when and where you don’t expect them.

f) USING a pencil, I draw the best compositions on the storyboard template – the whole book on one sheet. I remember: stories love patterns of three and odd numbers, and some visual surprises.

g) SEND THIS tiny sketched page to the publisher to see if the art director likes my ideas, along with a few character sketches (yay!). We can change anything at this point. It’s pretty darned small!

Summary: d) Mark text e) Sketch ideas f) Draw book g) Send! AND THINK LOTS!

CLick here to see my final storyboard