Picture Book Blueprint

21 Jan

“I write scripts in storyboard fashion using stick figures, and thought balloons and word balloons and captions. Then I’ll write descriptions of what scenes should look like and turn it over to the artist.” – Harvey Pekar

Once you’ve penned your picture book masterpiece, regardless if you’re the illustrator, it’s time to put on your editor glasses. I’m not referring to spelling, punctuation or gooey grammar. But rather how you need to look at your book in 3D (sort of).

Like an architect’s blueprint, a storyboard or dummy helps the author/illustrator visualize the physical layout of the story. Even without pictures this can be done at any stage of the book’s development. It’s essential to see how each page turn is elegantly teased yet surprisingly delivered.

From students to writers, everyone seems to get caught up with asking “how long does it have to be?” While each publisher differs in desired word counts, if all of the text naturally fits in a 32-page layout, you don’t have to worry. If there’s just too much text, you may be able to convince the publisher to move your words to a 40 page book.

To help with this storyboarding task, I’ve created a blank thumbnail overview and a black template to download, print and use at will.

To get a clearer picture on storyboards and dummies check out the following useful links:

Tara Lazar thoughtfully explains the storyboard concept.

Uri Shulevitz visually breaks down a storyboard from an illustrator’s perspective.

Sarah S. Brannen covers the process of making a picture book dummy.

4 Responses to “Picture Book Blueprint”

  1. Tara January 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Hey Crave, thanks for the mention! Good stuff!

  2. cravevsworld January 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    No worries. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
    How is everything post-PiBoIdMo?

  3. George Shannon-Author January 27, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Yes! Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Even if one is a writer who doesn’t illustrate (like me) I find it so helpful to spend time working with a dummy format. It helps improve my pacing and rhythm.

    Happy writing…

    George Shannon


  1. PBM – Week 4 « Crave Writing - March 1, 2011

    […] manuscript has been dated, attached to a storyboard blueprint and a status sheet, and firmly placed into a clear plastic sleeve in the holy 2011 PBM Binder. Will […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: