My Three Story Project 🌲2020

  • Moderator

    As part of the Design the Characters stage I get to “research” reference photos. So basically I’ve been given permission to do something that I have been restricting for a while. PINTEREST BABY!! I just did a one hour deep dive of searching and organizing images for this project and I am so freakin mellow right now. My OCD kitten is purring. 😬
    Happy dance!

  • Keep up the good work! Hooray for pinterest euphoria! Just be careful. 🤪

  • Moderator

    Evolution of Grace Boon. Grace is sassy, fun, silly and clumsy. Grace and Kiddo don’t look like they live in the same story yet. When I am done drawing the individual characters, there are 4, I am going to draw them all together to help get their look more cohesive. The sassy pose is straight off an image in Pinterest that just screamed Grace to me. I used it just for inspiration to help me figure out who this little girl is.





  • Moderator

    Back in December, while creating my application for the Adobe residency program, I had to make a plan, a timeline of my proposed project. After submitting my application I decided to go ahead and start the project, why wait? I mean I had the plan, why not get a jump on it? To go along with the project I told myself that I would share my progress and journey with my peers, so that maybe I could help someone else that was on the same journey. That includes the good and the bad. So here's the bad. Don't worry, it's not tragic, just not the "look how great i am" that you might see on normal social media.
    So far, if you've been following along, I have written and edited my first story. The next step was to create the book dummy. Using a guide that I had used once in the past I had laid out a schedule for my month of march to complete most if not all of that dummy. The first day was "Plan your pages", which means figure out your page turns. Did that, no problem. The next step was to "Start your Characters", which means character designing. I had already done some preliminary sketches of the main character, Kiddo, and was excited to design and draw her, so she was done right away. The second character, took a little longer to get started, because some life happened. Family stuff and a must see Harry Potter play in San Fran (DUDE it was AMAZEBALLS!). When I finally settled down "a few days later", I MADE myself sit down in my art room and draw until Grace was born. I say MADE, because I literally had to mentally force my brain to choose to do this. I sat down at the art table, and limped myself through the steps of properly creating a character. I had a hard time focusing, my mind wandered all over the place and I kept inventing things that i thought I had to do. Any little excuse and I would be up out of my chair (dog needs to go out, is it lunch time, put the clothes in the dryer, etc.), but i made myself finish and I was happy with what I had done. Now for Tee (she's the antagonist). I thought I was still on the happy high from finishing Grace, and thought I would jump right into creating Tee. But no go. So for the last week I have been avoiding this task, and I can’t say that it’s been all subconsciously. I am well aware of the fact that I am avoiding it. Whenever I draw ANYTHING else i feel guilt because I know that i should be working on my project, but do I stop and do it? NO. WHY?!!! ARGHH!!! Its quite frustrating. So now I’m sitting here with you trying to psychoanalyze myself.
    Do I NOT want to do this project? No, I definitely want to do this project.
    Do I want to take a break from this project? No. I want to finish, I am excited about the idea of having a completed picturebook dummy with some finished color spreads.
    Do I not like my characters? …I like my characters very much.
    Am I afraid? ……………………….…maybe?
    What could I be afraid of? Effing up the characters because I do love them and I want the world to love them and if the characters aren’t lovable or relatable then what chance do I have in competing with the BAJILLION other author illustrators out there. I am a rookie when it comes to drawing children and i don’t want to screw this up. So, if I don’t start then I can’t fail….😶

    Hmm, I think I have my answer. Well then, I guess I better suck it up and get over myself. Finished not perfect, right Jake? I’m gonna go cry for a few minutes and then get to work. Thanx for listening.

    P.S. If you have EVER been in this situation please share so we/I know that we/I are not alone. Because I feel quite alone right now.
    P.P.S. This might be a good podcast topic guys. @Will-Terry @Lee-White @Jake-Parker

  • Moderator

    Character number 3 ✅.
    Meet Tee, the antagonist. She’s a bit rough and needs some work but this is the gist of her. (finishednotperfectfinishednotperfect)
    Fashionista Tom girl wannabe, challenging the world in her insecurities. Shielding herself from rejection and judgment with false bravado. She soooo needs a friend like Kiddo. 🙂

  • Moderator

    Imposter syndrome: Some tips on how to handle it and hopefully break through any blocks that have formed because of it.
    These tips are from an article called Everyone Suffers from Impostor Syndrome — Here’s How to Handle It
    by Andy Molinsky

    1. If you are new to a craft or skill, remember that as a beginner you may have a fresh perspective on how to handle specific problems.
      (Personally I’m having trouble relating to this tip since I’ve been an artist for 40+years, but I’m trying).

    2. Focus on what you’re learning not on your performance. (Okay, I can do this).

    3. Almost everyone feels like a fraud, so chances are that someone in the same situation as you feels the same way. (I’m pretty sure this is true, which is why I’m even posting this🙂).

  • Moderator

    HI! I'm back in the writing saddle again! I had a bit of a dry spell, but I have shaken it off and am back on track again. My three story plan has been jacked though so I'm now shooting for one. If more happen, bonus. I've been told one is a legit number so I'm going with that for now.

    So back in March I signed up for the SCBWI Spring Spirit convention which was supposed to happen in May. It didn't, because is got "rona'd", but they still honored the portfolio and writing critiques which I signed up for. I received the writing critique back for my first story featuring Kiddo in June, and I received some really great feedback from an award winning author of over 100 children's' books, Lori Mortensen. So its a no brainer that I followed EVERY piece of advice that she gave me, reworked the story and came up with, what I hope is a good story. Though, what actually happened was, at first I read her notes, got a little discouraged, sat on it for a while, went hiking, played around during summer vacay and finally have climbed back on the horse and did the reworking of said story. It would be so wonderful if one's mental wanderings would not get in the way of one's progress. 😶

    Yesterday I sat down with my Smart Dummy booklet that I got from Dani Duck's Smart Dummy Challenge in September of 2018 and worked out my schedule to complete the dummy for this story in one month. I scheduled it to start September first because that's how the booklet lays it out, but since the first is only a week away I'm starting early so I will have a little bit more time than one month. But I'm going to finish it by the end of September! Goal stated.
    If you are interested in the booklet I have attached it here. She gives them away free, so don't make it weird. 😜
    Smart Dummy booklet.pdf

    Today I did the step called, "Plan your pages". This is where you take your story and find the pages turns, dividing it up into pages and spreads. My story is a just a bit longer than average so I'm shooting for a 32 page book, which will end up being 14 spreads and 2 extra single pages on each end with text on them. I used this template to help me visualize how this will look. This was also free to download.
    Storyboard Example for Dummy.jpg

    The next step, which I will do tomorrow is called Research Images and Doodle. Where I will collect images and draw doodles for inspiration of things I want to show in my illustrations. I will save the inspiration pics on a Pinterest board and the doodles in my sketchbook. I have been thinking about these stories for a while now so I have some stuff already saved, but tomorrow I will organize it and add to it.


  • @burvantill Thanks for sharing the planner/workbook Smart Dummy -I know it will come in handy sometime down the road.

    Looking forward to your progress!

  • Moderator

    @Heather-Boyd You are welcome. It is handy. She broke it down into manageable steps so it’s not such a daunting task.

  • @burvantill Hi Lisa~! Thank you so much for sharing your process with us. This is amazing! And it's a great glimpse into how much work (and frustration and heartache) really goes into writing and illustrating a children's book. I'm so encouraged and inspired by your posts and I hope to see your published book one day! ❤ ❤ ❤ Keep it up! You are doing great!!! 🙌🏼 🙌🏼 🙌🏼 And thank you for sharing your resources as well! Super helpful!

  • SVS OG

    Yeah. All the best with this project!

  • Moderator

    @aprilshin Thank YOU! Back in December I applied for the Adobe residency and part of that was to be helpful to my peers and even though I didn’t get excepted I still wanted to follow through with that so I started this thread which I’m also sharing in my Facebook. I don’t have a lot of followers but hopefully it helps some people. 🙂

  • Moderator

    As I was gathering images for my Pinterest Inspiration board, I kept falling into the internet black hole. Man its crazy out there. Anyway, If anyone wants to see my inspiration images for Kiddo, Grace, Tee and the background images for the trail they walk, here is the link to my board. The images I collected are of very young children, but my main characters will be around 10. I did this because I have a tendency to draw children looking way older than they are, so I thought I could cut the odds by trying to draw them young and then they'll end up looking the right age. LOL. Plus, those pictures are over the top cute! I can't wait to draw Grace's personality. All of them really.
    The next step in the dummy process is to Start My Characters. I actually did this back in the spring, but I'm going to do it again using the tips I got from the SVS Character Design class with Anna Daviscourt. I'm curious if they will look differently. The guide gives you 5 days to do this step so I'm glad that I'm starting early. I am not confident in character design. See you in a week with the results. =)x

  • Moderator

    Hey! Remember when I said I'm not confident in character design? It's been a rough go but I have my 360's of Kiddo, Tee and Grace. I'm a few days behind schedule, but once I get through this character stage the rest will go easier. The same thing happened to me the last time I did a book dummy. I come up with characters that I REALLY like drawn face forward, using all the shape and design techniques. THEN I have to draw them from all angles and I lose the part of the initial design that I liked. It's like when you have a sketch that's all gesture-y (it's a word) and cool and then you try to do a final from that sketch and its all hard and ugly. (sigh)
    I've gone back through these three, trying to find what I lost, but I'm still not 100% satisfied. I think Tee is bugging me the most, because straight on she has these massive fun pony tails to make the triangle shape of her head that I designed her to have, and when she's turned they just look stupid. I mean, they are SUPPOSED to look silly stupid straight on, but turned they are bad design stupid. The 3/4 and profile are the worst.
    I have a question for those of you that have done 360º drawings for a new character; How do you maintain the initial design?

    I only have one question regarding Grace: Is her head/face too small in the profile view?

    I'm just going to leave these here for comments and go and study some Disney characters. LOL

    PS. I just realized that I didn't share here my 5 character lineup last week. They are faceless because I was focusing on shape instead of features.

  • Moderator

    Character 360-2 marked.jpg
    I'M DONE! ...with my turnarounds. BLAH! My goodness that was like pulling teeth. I'm not ecstatic over the results, but I'm moving on. I knew this would be difficult for myself, but I didn't think it would take this long. I am now 7 days behind schedule. This is a personal project so it's not dire, and at least now I know to add extra time for character design if I ever get a real job. [Tangent Ahead] You know, I'm 51 years young. Saying the last sentence out loud, makes my stomach hurt and I get very discouraged. It is late and I'm tired and that doesn't help, so I'm going to shut up and shake off these blues and keep going.[End Tangent]
    Now to do a little fun stuff. Next step, Emotions and Poses! The schedule allows for 3 days of this, so I'll see you in 3 days... or 7😜.

  • Moderator

    I have to share something real fast before I get back to work. I’m trying to be as real as possible with this project so that maybe we don’t all feel like we are the only ones that have difficulties from time to time. Anyway, I’m working on my emotions and poses and I’m was trying to redraw Kiddo in a pose and it didn’t matter how many times I erased and redrew (5 times) I could NOT get her right. She just didn’t look like Kiddo. In a fit of frustration I shut down my iPad dropped my pencil, remove my glasses and groaned, “I can’t do this! I’m pathetic.”
    At this point my husband says, “you just need to practice.” I’m mean, duh right. Anyway, I took a breather and had some lunch and I’m back at it and doing better. I am PRACTICING (thank you honey), and not trying too hard. Just working on her face and expressions.
    I just wanted to share the not pretty behind the scenes stuff. I would show my crappy drawing of Kiddo but I destroyed it. Lol. 7B907790-4500-4F1E-88FE-25F22E8E011D.jpeg

  • Moderator

    She lives!
    I love her angry face.

  • Moderator

    Before I talk about the next step in my book dummy process I would like to comment on the difference in my schedule from the last time I did this book dummy process. Last time I did not have a day job and I was able to spend huge chunks of time working on the project. This time, when I made my schedule, I didn't take into consideration that I now have a stinky part time job that does not define me what so ever, that is taking up my precious art time. It's a bummer, but life goes on. I have been altering my schedule along the way now, to make up for that lost time. If I base myself on the original schedule, then I am 10 days behind. It's a good thing I am not doing that or I may have become very discouraged😜.

    Now back to the project. I have finished my emotions for my three girls. I decided not to do emotions for Dad and Mrs L as they will only show up on one, maybe two pages.
    Here is Grace and Tee.

    Next is the Thumbnails stage, which I will start tomorrow. This evening I created an InDesign document with my page layout according to the following guideline,
    Storyboard Example for Dummy.jpg
    with the paginated text. Then I printed out several copies of the document laid out in spreads, 10 up. So each page is about 1.5 x 2 inches.
    I will sketch out my thumbnails in pencil on these, then in the next step which is called Loose Drawings, I will sketch out larger versions on my ipad. I intend to create a spread layout with bleed in procreate which I will use for my final sketches, so I may just use that initially for my loose sketches and clean them up for the finals.

    I am curious how you all set up your thumbnails for a book project? Do you do them systematically or draw what ever feels right at the moment? Or what? Share, please, I love to hear about other peeps processes.🙂

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