Doing master studies on Picture books :-) (any suggestions?)
xin li last edited by xin li
After seeing @davidhohn 's study on Beekle, I was very inspired. I want to find a way to do some mater study on picture books. I thought some of you might be interested in doing this together with me.
I am writing a story about a girl being alone and feeling lonely, and how she learned to be peaceful and content of being alone. I picked out 4 books to study.
Me and My Fear (Francesca Sanna), a book about fear.
The heart and the bottle (Oliver Jeffers), a book about loss.
The Red Tree (Shaun Tan), a book about depression.
On A Magical Do-Nothing Day (Beatrice Alemagna), a book about boredom
Here is my first study. I photographed all the pages and lay them on one page. I am doing a value study at a later point. Then I go through a list of questions to deconstruct the story elements. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. And if you are doing similar studies on picturebooks, I would love to see
If anyone happens to deconstruct the same picture book as I do, please share it here. I would really love to hear what is your understanding of the story.
Coley last edited by
I'll follow along with you. I just watched YouTube read aloud videos to these four books. They're lovely. I especially like Oliver Jeffers one.
I might do one dummy myself. I absolutely love After the Fall" by Dan Santat so I might do that one. I also love Robert Munsch and Michael Marchenko books so possibly I might do one of them too. I did thumbnails of one of their books last fall but not the color or value layouts.
RG Spaulding last edited by
@xin-li , That is great. I am going to follow you to learn how you are doing it. I might do one for my own PB manuscript also. I have to find the books first that have similar storyline. Thank you for posting this.
@xin-li really like what you are doing here. One thing that I always wonder, how do people know if the "pace" of a book is right ?
Like here, perhaps you can mark on this big sheet where on which page the crisis escalates, where it got resolved, etc.
@idid great suggestions. I will try that.
@Coley thank you for book recommendations. I will check out "after the fall", and other authors you have mentioned.
@RG-Spaulding greate. Looking forward to seeing your studies.
This is a great idea! I have A Magical Do-Nothing Day and would be happy to join you on that one. I have a couple of Shaun Tan books as well, though not that one.
Do you plan to do more analysis other than a value study? I agree with @idid that pacing would be an interesting topic. Also page turns.
Where did you find the David Hohn study? I do follow his Instagram, but I must have missed that one!
@xin-li Just found the Beekle study in your book dummy thread!
xin li last edited by xin li
@LauraA I need to study a bit more about the story structure before I have the language to think and put what I see into words. I will keep in mind about pacing and page turns. I have a few resources on visual storytelling in my hands, just need to go through them.
Would love to see how you analyze A Magical Do-Nothing Day
So I just did Magical Do-Nothing Day. The first thing I learned it that it has more pages than average--37 pages of story plus 7 others, for a total of 44.
The spots occur when the mom starts the plot thickening by telling the child to go outside, the moment when the child leaves the house (focus on face, hesitancy), the moment when the child fully embraces the idea of being outside (speeds up the plot by making a list of discoveries), and the moments when the child re-enters the house and the mom talks to the child. They are all pivotal moments in the story.
The spreads are obviously meant to immerse us in nature. I like how the jacket takes on various forms of nature, such as a star, or most notably, a mushroom on pages 19-20. (The mushroom spread and the next spread about the underground world are my favorites.)
The saturated "neon" orange is a bit of bright color that looks even brighter on a rainy day. It also draws attention to the child. On one page, the jacket isn't colored in. This has to be intentional, although I don't know the reason! Otherwise, colors tend to be dark and warm.
There's a fun spread on 25-26 in which the child is drawn multiple times as it goes tumbling down a hill.
I don't know how much of it is the quality of the photos and how much the illustrations themselves, but when I hit cmd+Y to look at this layout in black and white, it loses a lot and becomes very mid-tone gray, except on the spot pages.
(You can't tell whether this child is a boy or girl, partly because of how it is drawn, and partly because the story is told in first person, so there's never a gendered personal pronoun. Alemagna said she did this on purpose.)
If anyone else wants to add anything, I'd be happy to hear it! @xin-li Do you have a source for your questions?
@LauraA it is from storyteller academy, one of the picturebooks making courses by Arree Chung. I could not find the exact place I noted down these questions. But I am going through the course "Crafting Picture Book Stories" and "Making Picture Book Dummies".
I signed up for a monthly subscription to test out the content. I found the course is less structured than SVS courses, a bit messy if I try to re-find something within a course. But I also found some really interesting content regarding making picturebook dummies and the process of manuscript submission.
Thank you so much for sharing your study. When I saw your study, the first thing that caught my eyes was the color orange. By the way, I always read the character as a girl :-). Maybe it is because I have a daughter?
I have a few tasks on my table that require immediate focus this week. I will come back to picturebook master study later this week if everything goes as planned
Rachel Horne last edited by
I love this idea and had missed it up until now so thanks for sharing. I have On A Magical Day Do Nothing but might try another of her books 'Gisèle de Verre' and I have a couple of others I'm now interested in looking at...ps: I always thought the character in Alemagna's book was a boy!
So cool! Where can I find @davidhohn study of Beekle? Thanks for sharing!
Yes, that orange is definitely a statement! The site looks interesting and might be a nice supplement. Of course it depends on how much wants to be an author as well as illustrator.
MirkaH last edited by
Thats really cool. I am also learning to write and do similar studies of the word element in the book. I like the idea of taking all the photos and making one page out of them. Takes a bit more time, but a good tool to learn from.