Picture Book Question?



  • I've never done a picture book before, so not quite sure how far to go before I try to sell it. Being as I have no experience should I finish drawing the entire book, or should I just do three or four spreads and send it with the character sketches and story? I was going to have it completely finished to show that I'm capable of doing it? Any advice?



  • The advice I've been given (by a published author teaching at this course I was doing), was that if I wanted to pitch my book idea to a publisher, I should create a dummy book, of which about 2 spreads should be fully finished in colour, and the rest in black and white line/value....the idea being that this shows that you know the proper picture book format, but you're also open to the idea of altering it if the publisher wants to. They told me that if I sent in a totally fully finished book, it would give the impression that I wouldn't be open to making any changes at all. But another tutor at the course also talked about the option of showing character sketches plus some finished work...so either of your ideas sound good.

    So I don't know if that is definitive advice or just what I was told that particular time. I'm sure there are many different ways of persuading a publisher...



  • Probably the best advice would be to start by checking out the Children's Book class from here. It really gives you a ton of advice and basically walks you through the process of designing/formatting the book (which really helped me a lot).

    Also: SCBWI has a lot of good resources.



  • I second Matt's advice. Watch Will and Jakes class first, then join SCBWI before doing anything else. They will give you the info to move forward in an educated way so you don't waste time or energy. Good luck!



  • I am also going to join SCWBI as soon as I can. I am taking so many classes at once. After taking Lee's business class, I have cleaned up my website as best I can until I get more portfolio quality pieces. Once I have up a decent portfolio, I am going to join them and try to go to some local meetings.

    @evilrobot if you join SCWBI you will have to share your take on the experience. I would love to know what another beginner feels about it.



  • @Leslie-Walker I did actually join it last week. I live in northern Arizona...there is really nothing going on in my area. The calendar is empty for any events, groups, or meet ups in my area. So that's what I would have been excited about, but there isn't anything like that. There is the forum and some other info on the site but nothing I didn't already find elsewhere. You can put up your portfolio but nobody will find you unless you are a featured artist. And there are a few contest you can enter. So I guess it depends on where you live and how strong of a membership there is in that area. There will more than likely be some events for me to attend later in the year a couple hundred miles away in Phoenix so I guess I'll wait for those and then let that decide if it's worth it to renew or not.



  • @evilrobot I live in Phoenix. Well, I live in Mesa but same difference. My studio is in Phoenix. Not sure what part of Northern AZ you are in but if you are around the Flagstaff area what about starting your own chapter? Maybe there are others in the area that would be interested? With NAU in the area, there is bound to be someone looking into illustrating. Just a thought. Not sure how the guidelines would be for starting your own chapter.

    I am also really interested in the meet ups. My goal is to find other artists interested in illustration. I am part of the local art groups but this area is mostly centered on gallery work. I have some pieces in shows right now but I really want to transition to print. Galleries are hit and miss and as Lee White so eloquently pointed out, a terrible business model. The Gallery I am in right now has a 60/40 model. I only get 60% of what I sell.

    If you end up coming down for some meetups with SCWBI maybe we can network together. If I end up joining them, I will definitely want to check out meetings.



  • @Leslie-Walker Yeah, if you live in Phoenix that seems to be where everything is. Not practical for me to drive that far to attend group meetings and stuff. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for any of the bigger events down there. I also thought there might be something going on in the Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona area because everyone is into the arts in that area, but as of yet I haven't found anything. But still am looking. I sent an email to our regional adviser (Michelle Parker-Rock) asking about the meet ups and if she knows of any other members in my area I can contact. I think the email for her is public if you go the SCBWI page and search for our region. You might be able to ask her some questions about the groups in your area before you join.



  • Lol. Try living in North Dakota. No really, you should try it because it's great--just not so great for SCBWI....



  • I think Will talks about this in the children's picture book class - the one that Jake does a mock layout for Little Red Riding Hood. Are you submitting your story to agents or publishers? I have been asked for it a story in manuscript form with a character design sample as well as a pb dummy. If you go the dummy route, in my critique group it is pencil illustrations, with copy in place (simple font) and a single color spread, saved as a pdf for easy viewing. Hope this helps and good luck on your dummy proposal!