Creating a picture book dummy is no easy task especially without adequate information and experience. There are a series of steps required before anyone present there book dummy before the eyes of any children's book publisher. I discovered this when I decided to participate in the Picture Book Challenge sponsored by the web group Kitlitart. This great group of writers and illustrators meet to discuss their love for children's picture books. They meet on Thursday evening at 9pm using Twitter with the hashtag #kitlitart, (https://twitter.com/kidlitart). I needed some information as to how to put my picture book dummy together. I am a member of kidlitart and quickly discovered what other kitlitart members have used to create their very own picture book dummies. There are many very good reference books that describe how to put a book dummies together. This blog article will discuss one of my favorite books by Uri Shulevitz. His book "Writing With Pictures" published by Watson-Guptill Publications. My idea was to start my book dummy creating the text and gradually adding the pictures. I decided instead to try Mr. Shulevitz's idea of imagining my book dummy with pictures in sequence and gradually adding text. He mentions in his book what an effective picture book should be, "Picture books communicate through pictures and words or just words." In order for pictures books to be understood by children you need to communicate clearly and know how to use your pictures properly. Reading his book gave me several good ideas for putting together an effective picture book dummy. Mr Stulvitz's adds that a lot of thought goes into putting a book dummy together. He offers some very good information into the process so that I felt more confident tackling the picture book dummy challenge.
I like how Mr. Shulevitz offers his information methodically about creating a picture book dummy. This includes his years of experience in the publishing industry. He tackles the picture book process concisely with plenty of examples so that any illustrator or writer will enjoy reading his book. One of my favorite chapters in his book is Part One, Telling the story. He starts this chapter by explaining the difference between a story book and picture book. Mr Shulevitz breaks down the individual steps or picture sequence so that the child will understand what you need to communicate. He gradually shows more involved picture sequences to add interest to your story and explains why some picture sequences succeed and some don't.
Another favorite book section I enjoyed is titled Picture Book Characteristics. In this chapter he writes "Pictures do much more than illustrate text. They expand upon the words and provide information essential to the story." Pictures should say what words do not. This is so true, why reiterate pictures and words when they should complement each other. Mr. Shulevitz book includes suggested Book Characteristics explaining his use of Direct Approach, Lively Hero (develop a character with a beginning, middle and end or resolution), Visible Action, and a number of other important characteristics any good children's picture book should have. I have only touched upon a few of Mr. Shulevitz's books ideas. I suggest looking at his book and purchase a copy if you are considering writing and illustrating your own children's picture book. This book is on my reference book shelf and I am off to a great start with my picture book challenge. You can purchase this book at Amazon's website by visiting Amazon.com at http://amzn.to/1e83R61