The Picture Book Course was back this week, after three weeks off for Christmas. Although I enjoyed the downtime over the holidays, it felt great to be back at it!
As I mentioned before, I had a story idea in mind when I started this course, but I took the instructor’s advice and put it aside while working through the process and weekly assignments. This week, however, I was able to go back to the story I had started, and started sketching thumbnails!
Thumbnails are small, rough sketches that illustrators make after reading or writing the manuscript. Thumbnail sketches are where we figure out what we’ll will draw on each double page spread—I like to think of each spread of a book as a scene in a movie that presents a distinct idea or event.
Planning the Layout
Since I was creative director of a few magazines in the past, I’m used to working with page charts—so I actually created a 32 page chart in Adobe InDesign to work out the copy and make notes about the illustration content before I started working on the thumbnails. This helped speed up the process, since I had already visualized the way I wanted everything to look, and how it would fit together.
When planning a book layout, it’s important to consider a variety of things such as colour, light & dark, pacing or indication of time passing, scale and other visual themes.
I tried to balance overall design cohesiveness with different types of layout to add visual interest to keep the reader’s interest and make sure they keep turning the page.
Once my initial sketches were inked, the next step was to add some basic colour. The final artwork will be created with ink and watercolour, so I used those materials for the thumbnails to get an idea of how it will all come together.
The next step is to build a dummy book! Next week, I’ll scan these thumbnails, enlarge them a little, add in the text and then print them and assemble them into a mini-book so I can double check that the copy and illustrations work well together, and everything flows properly.
I can’t wait for this next step, and soon to start working on the final artwork!
Here’s a peek at some new additions to my sketchbooks!