The picture book dummy idea came to me while reading message posts from the Thursday night’s group (illustrators and writers) called Kitlitart. I wasn’t sure where I should start my picturebook dummy but this group offered some valuable insight into the process. Two reference books mentioned at one of these kitlitart Thursday meetings was Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz and Writing Picture books by Ann Whitford Paul. Both of these books offered alternative styles as to what a storyboard is and how to finish a picturebook dummy from your storyboard.
The roughs above (fig._1) are my first attempt at creating a storyboard for the children’s story Thumbelina by Hans Christian Anderson. I was constantly refining my sketches and reworking my image placement before deciding on the sketches above. The storyboard is important because it allows me to visualize the whole book and what may or may not work. This allows me to determine how the book flows and what sketches need to be adjusted. I reworked my storyboard numerous times until I felt my illustrations and text were flowing smoothly. Once the storyboard is finished, I am able to view any similarities and differences between the most outstanding components for the pictures and the text. When I am satisfied, I start the next step. This process involves creating a three dimensional model or picture book dummy. The dummy will convey how the book will read when printed. There are several ways to make a book dummy. For example, you can staple or sew 8 sheets of white paper together through the middle and then fold them in half to make a 32-page booklet. To make a 48-page dummy, use 12 sheets of paper. Mark the page numbers on both sides of each side, from 1 to 32. (fig._2)
I concentrated on creating an actual size dummy (11” X 17”). I wanted my black and white sketches drawn as close to finish as possible. I felt this would assist in how the work would appear overall. Two of my finished sketches from my book dummy for Thumbelina are shown (fig._3 and fig._4). Working on these sketches is an important process for visualizing the completed work. I am able to change the sketches quickly and fix parts of the sketches that are not working. If you look closely at the sketch with Thumbelina and the fishes (fig._4). I made numerous attempts so the composition was balanced between Thumbelina and the fishes below the lily pads. There was a lot of thought that went into how the character of Thumbelina would appear. I wanted the fishes to jump out at the viewers and offer contrast to little Thumbelina sitting on the lily pad. My next step with completing my book dummy will be to complete a double page spread finished painting. I plan on finishing the double page spread with Thumbelina and the fishes below her. I will post the completed painting when I finish it on my blog.