Tag Archives: portfolio samples

♫. . . Research While You Sketch . . . ♪

Attention all new children’s book illustrators!

Seeking inspiration?

As you get ready to immerse yourself into your selected picture book story, write yourself a grocery list of what your story needs. This might include:

  • The names of each major character(s)
  • Subsidiary characters
  • The locale of the story
  • Time of year; day

Then turn each item into a new sub-list that will form the basis for your story scavenger hunt.

Example:

LalouImagine this is a main character, illustrated above (art by Debbie Tilley, from The Gallaudet ASL Dictionary for Children, coming 2013. See Debbie’s portfolio here. Check out her bibliography here.)She could be:

  • 5-years-old
  • has older brother who’s deaf (she’s not)
  • is fluent in American Sign Language
  • dances a jig when happy
  • loves movies with animals
  • hates celery
  • wants puppy badly
  • loves doggie-in-window on sight.
  • puppy understands ASL! (how?)

The above list can then be turned into a series of quick character sketches.

Then move on to the next item on your list, and repeat the exercise. Make sketches of each item. And so on.

Case in point:  Check out how artist Peter Brown applied himself to Aaron Reynolds‘ manuscript,  strategizing his approach to Aaron‘s tale, The Creepy Carrots.

Use the melody to “Whistle While You Work,” substituting the title heading at the top of this page for the first line of the lyric, then humming the rest.

You’ll jump start your creative juices as you discover a treasure trove of inspiration. Yeah!