Wednesday, July 1, 2020


Illustrating the Book... Storyboarding.

Once the direction and general style of the images for a book are settled, step one in the art-process of illustrating a kids' book comes with the storyboard. Storyboarding solves the most basic issues in the appearance of the bookare a whole bunch of things: style, format, continuity, composition, interpretation, character development, environment... and so forth.

The first challenge came from the publisher, who wanted the child to be gender-neutral. This is a tough one. The illustrations for the story take place in the child's bedroom. Is there a middle ground between pink tutus, and tiaras, and blue toy trucks, and boy stuff? I wasn't sure I could make this work. I suggested making the characters anthropomorphized bunnies or mice, passed off as not pink, not blue. Finally... thinking of bunnies I decided to put the child into a purple bunny suit, then have him/her change into his/hers pj's. 

Many artists do their storyboards as tiny thumbnails. I do thumbnails for myself to work out problems and form questions, but I do my storyboards; which will be seen by the publisher, to the size of the book, in black and white, essentially creating a dummy-form of the book. The storyboards are where everything shakes out for the illustrator and the publisher. 

Stay tuned for part 4.

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