October 31, 2017

The Making of an Illustrated Children's Picture Book: Part 2

So I left the last post about illustrating a children's picture book at the story board stage. You can read about part one here.

*Update. Things have been a little slow here lately on the blog. I have reevaluated my priorities and time commitments and for the rest of the year I will still post here, but not as frequently as I was. I will reassess in the new year and decide what direction I want to take with all my arty and crafty projects. I'm still producing tutorials, and will update here on my creative life now that my latest kids book is finished, but for the rest of the year it's going to be a bit slower here on the old blog! Ok, back to the blog post!*

After everyone is happy with the way the whole book goes together, it's time for the final roughs.

With this book, some of the pages were shuffled around and text needed to move and new quick roughs needed to be done. It is in this stage when you see the images with the text that something you feel needs to be changed will become apparent, where it might not have been before.

A section of a rough from one of my favourite pages

The text is a huge part of the book and needs to not be an afterthought. I designed where the text would go in this book, and had a lot of help from a designer. The space for type is allocated before the final roughs are done.

Looking through kid's picture books is interesting to look at the amount of space type takes, the placement, size and font choices. You'll see wavy text, enlarged text, bold text, hand written text. The choices are varied, just as the illustration choices are.

I do my roughs to scale. I did mine larger than the final book would be, so I can fit more detail in where needed.

Some pages need more nutting-out than others. Some I wrestle with and redraw parts, and I also use my scanner and photoshop to help me rearrange parts of the roughs if it's not working for me on paper. Modern technology!


Some come easily. I'm sure this is similar to the workings of many different creative pursuits.

Things that I have to keep in mind when doing the roughs are character continuity, and keeping the style throughout the whole book. I also nut out landmarks or features if there are a few pages that will feature the same area. You want the same colour & shaped roof on the same house on different pages for example. Notes are helpful for you to remember things when it comes time to render the final illustrations.

I read and reread the text, as it's easy to miss out on little details that you thought you would remember.



Once the roughs are all done they are scanned in, edited and compiled into a PDF for viewing by the publisher. For my last kids book, I made a little dummy book which I loved. It was great to be able to pick it up and hold it and flick through the pages and get an idea of the final look and feel of the real book.

Extra detail is added into the final roughs, and I like little surprises such as continuing themes that aren't in the text of a book. It's great to think of all your characters (and even background characters) as total individuals so you can make them unique in their expressions or what they're wearing.

Taking breaks is important. Minds go stale and tired, and after a break I return fresh with new perspective.

So many tea breaks :)

If I get a bad case of the fears, also known as procrastination, I remind myself that no matter what I do, I will always be better off sitting down and doing an hour or so of work. If will learn something. I will progress, even if just by a tiny bit. Even if it's a stuff up, it's a stuff up that needed to happen as it is part of the process. This mindset has helped me deal with procrastination a lot. No matter how dull and practical and unmystical that is!

The cover design needs some in-depth thought and a fantastic illustration. I'm hoping mine lives up to the task! It is after all the first thing you see, and it either catches your eye or it doesn't. I did a couple of different layouts, and it was funny that in a survey to some little people they all chose the one I liked least! Considering it's for kids, we decided to trust those fresh untainted opinions, and that they knew best.

The next instalment will be regarding painting the finals, and the final book will be on it's way very soon! Stay tuned!

Next up... painting the final illustrations


Jules :)




2 comments:

Dez said...

Hi Jules! So happy to see another blog post of you! I know you have been busy and I missed your posts, but boy was it worth the wait! You truly gave a wonderful inside in the complicated process of illustrating a book. And even though I love children books, I never realised how many steps it takes. I'm sure a LOT of children will be very happy to wander in the magical world you created when the book is finally published.
As far as your blog goes, I surely do understand you have to prioritize and one can't do it all, but I would REALLY love to see more of your tutorials. They are so inspiring, easy to follow and always lots of fun! Btw, lovely coaster under your cup of tea, I might take it as an inspiration for a future artwork. Hugz, Love & Light. Dez (DezArtz38)

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