Tag Archives: dummy

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.