Saturday, February 09, 2013

The art of the BOOK

Sketches & cover ideas for Plank & Pancake
I follow enough librarians on Twitter to know that it's really that book cover that wins a reader's attention. It's also interesting to know that the book COVER, (though the first taste to the overall book experience,) is usually the LAST bit designed to complete the story. It's the reader's first introduction - that first impression, so you want it to be a good one.

As I work on my first picture book dummy, I am piecing together a cover to make my story feel polished. Then this morning I couldn't help but think what would Master Kidd do? Chip Kidd is well respected as one of the "Kings of book coverings. Though the titles linked to his name are actually novels, his Ted presentation is an excellent example of how he deconstructs a book to build upon the story it encases. 

All this can be applied to Picture Books as well. One just has to be consistent with the book's illustration style.
Storyboard flow study of Extra Yarn by Barnett & Klassen
For some of the books I treasure, I look back into them with a technical eye to peek into the book's structure. I sometimes have to remind myself that the story is about an experience as a whole. Sure, there's a beginning, middle, and end, but its the sequencing and flow that truly gives the story that vitality. To really get a good sense of a books flow, I will sketch an existing picture book in a storyboard format to watch for patterns in the sequencing. Other than the written progression of the story, what makes you (or me) want to turn that page?
Storyboard flow study of Cecil the Pet Glacier by Harvey & Potter

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Recovering from the SCBWI Winter Conference

Zoom-Zoom, NYC - February, 2013.
Pleased to be home from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Winter Conference, while still trying to recover from my busy weekend. This year's commute is brought to you via Greyhound bus service... not a sponsored post, but yes I was pleased with the commute. I both recommend the bus as a transporting system from Boston to NYC, and will be using them again in the future. Fingers crossed I can return soon.

The light of Central Park upon leaving.
I was little hesitant about the visit since I was both nervous and excited about attending the Writer's Roundtable this go-around. In short: It made my trip. I got a LOT of great feedback from fellow Roundtable guests. This was an experience to be had. I only wish I had the opportunity to indulge in both the Writer's Roundtable and Illustration Intensive activities!

The story for my picture book is currently in "RE-Draft-Mode," thanks to the lovely assistance of the 16 others who nudged me in a the right direction. At least one significant goal was completed over this long weekend: I finally conjured up a name for my giraffe character. I can't take the credit for this because my mentor/roommate/former-professor (Sheli Petersen) came up with his name, just before the start of the conference.

Now that the conference is over, a whole new set of goals have been appointed. These include:

  • Revision #... 4 or 5 (?) of my PB (Giraffe) story
  • Storyboarding the book
  • Dummy book assembly (praying for a March/April deadline)
  • My first book submission (aww!)
  • My second EVER postcard blast (Late February/Early March)

New postcards are on order... along with some stickers (naturally!) Since I haven't been too far removed from the SCBWI calendar, I've signed up for the New England Chapter SCBWI conference for this May. February and March are almost booked up with weekend activities, so I'm returning to a busy-busy schedule. Nevertheless, I'm inspired, (almost) revitalized, and ready to get things rolling.