Saturday, May 19, 2012

Making Picture Books -- Thumbnail Sketches

A week ago today I attended a day-long event at the Rosenbach Museum & Library organized in collaboration with the SCBWI - Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter:  Making Picture Books - A workshop for children's book writers and illustrators
Adrienne Wright, Illustrator Coordinator for the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter, did a fantastic job planning this event, inspired by the Rosenbach's Maurice Sendak exhibition, From Pen to Publisher.

There were three presenters: Gene Barreta (Author/Illustrator), Kate Harrison (Senior Editor at Dial Books for Young Children) and April Ward (Art Director at Macmillan Children's Publishing Group).   

I love attending events like these -- it's a chance to meet new people passionate about children's literature, learn more about the publishing industry and the process of creating picture books.  One of the sessions focused on the value of working on thumbnails sketches, small rough drawings.  I just finished working on the thumbnails and storyboard for my second picture book, so this presentation resonated with me.   Below are a few notes from the presentation that I thought I would share:
  • Illustrators should consider taking more time at the thumbnail stage, creating 2 or 3 options for each spread, playing with the sketches, making them unique.
  • While working on thumbnails, make sure to vary the composition throughout each spread: using variation in perspective, dramatic close-ups, showing characters in distance, bird's eye view, breaking up action into panels, etc.
  • Keep an open mind and be flexible, considering all options and pushing yourself.
  • Thumbnails/storyboard help take away redundancy, and make it easier to identify what's not working.

Good stuff, right?  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baltic Digital Story

On February 15th this year I did a Skype visit with a group of Kindergarten and 1st Grade students at St. David's School in Raleigh, North Carolina, as part of their Book Lover's Week celebration.  It was a lot of fun!
Afterwards, the children in Mrs. Williams' Kindergarten class worked on a project inspired by Little Dog Lost: where did Baltic go after he was rescued?  Each student wrote, drew a picture and then read and recorded their story.
And the result is WONDERFUL!