1. THUMBNAILS (STORYBOARDING): After you feel like you've done all you can do for the writing, the real fun begins...the actual illustrating. However, this first stage is the most difficult and thought intensive for me. It's where all the hard work happens in illustrating. All the problems and questions have to be solved in regards to art in this stage. Even though you try, some still may arise later. However, they usually aren't so major if you do your work here.

I begin by sketching tiny scenes (tiny because it takes less time to draw small than draw big) of each page in a rectangle with a line down the middle. This rectangle represents the book opened up. The line down the middle is the center of the book where the pages are stitched together. This is called the gutter. When designing your scene, you don't want to put any important elements in the gutter...they'd get warped and possibly lost as the pages stitch together. You also have to design room for the type. Whether it's going over the illustration or outside of it in the white space, you need to know where you are putting it. I draw many thumbnails for each scene for the entire book. Then I choose the designs I like the best and line them up to make sure I have a good design flow and variation. At this point I could go on and on about design and what goes into that, but I'd bore the artists and confuse the writers. Just know, you can't have every page from the same viewpoint and your design needs to reflect the mood and the style of the scene as well.

Here's an example of the chosen thumbnail images all in order from start to finish for the book I wrote and illustrated called "Tickle Tickle Itch Twitch." Notice the variation in size and layout and resting and action scenes. These all fit on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper...that's how small they are. But look at the detail you can cram in.

1 comment:

  1. Julie this is so helpful thank you so much. You are very talented!


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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at

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