Once the event got underway it was easy to see why the topic, and Elizabeth’s take on it in particular, was such a big draw: Creating picture books—words and pictures—is a hugely dynamic creative process.
Just as writing a synopsis for your story can often show you what’s missing, trying to think about the story in terms of picture book structure reaps huge rewards. Distilling a story to its most basic elements is a skill you can’t practice too much and having different forms to play with when doing that brings the process to life.
Even those of us who were non-artists were encouraged to sketch out the key elements of our story. That’s sketch. No words (yikes! words are my world!!!).
We used story boards to think about story density, flow of ideas, light and shade, blank space. We thought about what is and isn’t on the page, space, movement, and got to pick Elizabeth’s brains about how she develops her ideas in this way. In fact, she talked us through a whole treasure trove of early sketches, story boards and mock-ups of not just her own work but some great examples from a wealth of prestigious illustrators and picture book writers who she’s worked with. Being able to see the development from these early stage examples to finished creations really highlighted the on-going creativity of the whole endeavour.
So, after all of this writing, drawing, cutting, folding, thinking and listening what was my highlight of the day? It’s a tough call, my brain’s been buzzing with picture book ideas ever since the event, but it’s *probably*, just, Elizabeth’s role playing of the ‘top New York industry professional you meet in a lift and sneak the chance to pitch to.’ It’s something to behold! She’s everyone’s dream enthusiast.
If you get a chance to catch some of Elizabeth’s enthusiasm yourself, grab it. In the meantime, go on, noodle out that picture book story!
You can find out more about Elizabeth Dulemba, and download storyboard templates and other picture book tips on www.dulemba.com