Making a Picture Book

Studio in JulyThese hot days of summer have driven me inside my studio to finally work on the illustration plans for Messy Magic Birthday.  I know the plan should have been done by now but because of spending so much time on promoting my first book, Lonely Lola Ladybug, it has been hard to devote time to illustrating the next book. I have been making character sketches for months but I was a little lost on where to begin the overall illustration plan. (This might be because the beginning of my story has changed a dozen times or more.) I decided to start, as I did with Lonely Lola Ladybug, with the cover illustration. This is a backwards approach because the cover usually comes late in the process of book building but the cover sets the tone for the book and gives a hint of what’s inside. Maybe making the cover would give me hints on how to proceed with the overall plan.

MMB-Cover in progressSo I took my character sketches and some fabulous handmade papers and began to play with the various parts like pieces of the puzzle. I had a vague idea in my head of what I wanted but no idea how I was going to get there. After much cutting and tearing of papers and rearranging, I came up with a layout that I thought would work. But after pasting the pieces in place I saw parts that I did not like…so now what? On goes more tweaking with the cover illustration. But the good news is, now I feel I can move on with the overall plan and make the storyboard sketches for each page. (See in pic #1 that I even started some!) From those sketches, I will make a book dummy that shows publishers my plan. This all comes before making the actual illustrations or getting it published!

MMB- Cover layoutYesterday, I was signing a copy of Lonely Lola Ladybug for an artist from Kansas who was visiting the area. She asked me, “So, was it hard making a children’s picture book?”  What do you think I replied?

Happy summer everyone!

6 thoughts on “Making a Picture Book

  1. Oh, how fun to see your tentative cover! I love it. And the colors are wonderful. I can’t wait to see your illustrated dummy. Good luck with your project and have fun.

    • Thank you Jill for your kind comments! I will follow up with showing you the dummy…when I get it done. The work is fun and I hope that shows in the book in progress.

    • Thanks for the good luck wish, Stacy! As you know, creating is a lot of work but it is also a lot of fun and hopefully rewarding in the end. It’s nice to receive positive comments as I toil away in solitude of my studio. Thanks!

  2. I can tell that you are having a wonderful time illustrating and writing children’s books Mary Jo. The cover for Messy Magical Birthday is so much fun. What child would not want to be at such a fun party. Can’t wait to read the book. Lonely Lola Ladybug is already in the library of our first grandchild due in October. Can’t wait to read your creations to him. Solange

    • First, best wishes on your first grandchild on the way! It sounds like you will be reading to a sweet baby boy. I’m so happy for you! Thank you for your positive comments and support Solange (soon to be grandmere!)

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