Picture Books II: Illustrate a Story | Christine Nishiyama | Skillshare

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Picture Books II: Illustrate a Story

teacher avatar Christine Nishiyama, Artist at Might Could Studios

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Trailer


    • 2.

      Introduction and Recap


    • 3.

      Picture Book Illustration Elements


    • 4.

      Breaking Up Your Manuscript


    • 5.

      Character Development Criteria


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Researching References


    • 8.

      Refining Your Characters


    • 9.

      Character Model Sheet


    • 10.

      Storyboard Elements


    • 11.

      Setting Up Your Storyboard


    • 12.

      Breaking Up Your Story


    • 13.

      Creating Rhythm and Pacing


    • 14.

      Creating Movement


    • 15.

      Analyzing for Repetition


    • 16.

      Making a Tiny Dummy


    • 17.

      Setting Up Your Sketches


    • 18.

      Refining Your Sketches


    • 19.

      Creating Your Final Drawings


    • 20.

      Cleaning Up in Photoshop


    • 21.

      Typesetting in Photoshop


    • 22.

      Digital Coloring in Photoshop


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About This Class

This hands-on class, taught by Christine Fleming, writer/illustrator at Might Could Studios, is the second in a two-part series on how to create your own children’s picture book. Picture Books I: Write Your Story focuses on the story writing process, while this class focuses on illustrating.

In this 90-minute class, Christine explores the elements of picture book illustrations including composition, color, white space, perspective, style, and typography, revealing spreads from some of her favorite picture books to show strong examples of each concept.

With the basics down pat, Christine will take you through video tutorials of her entire process of illustrating a picture book. These videos will begin with breaking down the manuscript, character development, storyboarding, making a tiny dummy, sketches, revisions, final drawings, and digital coloring in Photoshop. Nothing was planned or decided prior to filming these tutorial process videos, so everything shown is her authentic, on-the-fly process of thinking and creating.

By the end of this class, you’ll have everything you need to illustrate your own picture book!



Check out my other Skillshare classes here!

You can also see more about me and my work on my website: might-could.com.

And you can sign up for my email list for weekly essays on creativity and artmaking!

Thanks so much! <3


Meet Your Teacher

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Christine Nishiyama

Artist at Might Could Studios

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Hallo! I'm Christine Nishiyama, artist + founder of Might Could Studios.

I make books and comics, and I draw a whoooole lot. I teach aspiring and established artists, helping them explore their art, gain more confidence, and discover their unique artistic styles.

My core belief is that art is good and we should all make more of it. 

Instagram: Yeewhoo, I quit all social media! 

Books: Check out my books here, including a graphic novel series with Scholastic!

Subscribe to my Substack newsletter: Join over 10,000 artists and get my weekly essays on creativity and artmaking, weekly art prompts, and behind-the-scenes process work of my current picture book. Subscribe here!

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Level: Beginner

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1. Class Trailer: Hi, I'm Christine Fleming and I'm an illustrator and writer. I graduated from North Carolina State University with a BFA in Graphic Design. I am now illustrating in both the science and children's editorial markets as well as writing and illustrating my own fiction and nonfiction picture books. Recently, I've partnered with a lead scientist at Buzz Hoot Roar to write and illustrate a forthcoming science-based picture book. I am also an active member in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators called SCBWI, and I've been awarded the honors of SCBWI Illustrator of the Month and SCBWI Featured Blog. This Skillshare class is called Picture Books II: Illustrate Your Story, and is the second in a two-part series on how to create your own children's picture book. In this class, we'll explore the elements of picture book illustrations including composition, color, white space, perspective, style, and typography. With the basics down path, I'll take you through video tutorials of my entire process of illustrating a picture book. These videos will cover each of my steps including breaking down the manuscript, character development, storyboarding, making a tiny dummy, sketches, final drawings, and digital coloring in Photoshop. Nothing was planned or decided prior to filming these tutorial process videos so everything you see is my authentic, on the fly process of thinking and creating. Plus, as with the last class, there's a new bonus locked layer of content explaining the step-by-step process to create an illustrated dummy for your picture book and how to submit that dummy to publishers. This class is perfect for illustrators, writers, designers, and anyone who's ever wanted to create their own picture book. By the end of this course, you'll have everything you need to illustrate your own picture book. 2. Introduction and Recap: Hi guys. I'm so glad you decided to take my class on illustrating picture books, and I hope you learn a lot throughout the course. As you watch the videos, please follow along with the project guide and post your process work in the project gallery. Now let's get started. Before we begin, I want to make sure you know that this class is the second in a series on picture book making. The first-class Picture Books I, Write Your Story, has some vital information on the purpose, history, and structure of a picture book that you really need to know in order to illustrate a picture book. I don't want to repeat myself too much for those who have already taken both classes. So I highly recommend that you stop this class now and go back and watch it. At least the first three videos in Picture Books I, Write Your Story, before you continue with this course. I will not be covering these topics again in this class. An introduction to picture books, a brief history of picture books, and a structure and parts of a picture book. Okay, with that out of the way, let's get started. This first video is called, An Introduction And Recap. The only concept that I'm going to recap from the previous class is what exactly a picture book is. A picture book combines words and pictures in a book format aimed at young children. The target audience is children ages two to eight. A picture book is different than an illustrated book, such as a middle grade chapter book. Because the pictures in a picture book are vital to the story. In an illustrated book. The illustrations are supplements to a text that can stand on it's own. Wild Wood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis is an example of an illustrated book. It's structured more like a chapter book and illustrations are not necessarily on every page and are sometimes just a small spot illustration. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is an example of a picture book. There's less text and illustrations helped tell the full story instead of reiterating the story. Okay, so that's all for the recap. Really, go back and watch the other videos. It will only take you 12 and a half minutes. Before we get really into it, I just want to give you a little pep talk. Some people think that writers, illustrators, and all artists have an innate talent and that they are born with the ability to draw. To that, I say belief. It's my belief that an illustrator isn't born with the talent of drawing anymore than the surgeon was born with the talent of cutting up bodies. There's this sort of mysticism around writing and illustrating, and sure it's fun to think about things like that. But let me tell you straight up. Illustrating is a craft. Writing is a craft. Making art is a craft. This means that the only way to be good at it is to do it and to do it again and again and again. It may seem like an illustrator has the innate talent to draw. But it isn't because they were just born with the drawing gene. It's because they've been drawing for years and have hone their craft over time. If this is your view on life as it is mine, then you should see it as great news because this is what it means. Anyone can do anything. You can be a writer. You can be an illustrator. You could be a fireman. Whatever you want to be, you just have to throw yourself into that and completely get into the craft. Wherein everything there is to know about it and make, make make. I guess this sounds like hard work and it is, but it's better than wishing you are born with a different set of genes, right? 3. Picture Book Illustration Elements: Investigating picture book illustrations. A picture book Illustrator has to refine many skills in addition to being able to just draw or paint well. They must also have these skills: appropriate color use, drawing the same characters consistently, drawing characters in a variety of poses, facial expressions, and settings, being able to create illustrations that will match well with the manuscript while also adding additional meaning and not just repeating words, and knowledge of books size, formats, number of pages, book structure and texts placement. The most important thing in picture books is how the written story and the illustrated story work together. A master picture book author will leave room for the illustrator to fill in blanks and expand the story with the pictures. Often, some of the most successful picture books are created by the same person acting as the writer and the illustrator. This way, they are able to completely blend the two and have them work together to tell one story. A recent favorite example of this is the book Beekle by Dan Santat. Look at this spread from Beekle. The only words on this page are, 'He did the unimaginable." The rest of the story and the spread is told completely by the picture. Without the illustration, we would have no idea what Beekle did. The two stories here are really working together to tell the complete story. Decalage is a technique that's the disparity between word and image. The word state one thing, but the pictures state another. An example of this is Cockatoo by Quentin Blake. In this book, a man is looking for his birds throughout the story. The words on this spread say, "He climbed a ladder and flashed his torch around the attic. They weren't there." But look behind those little suitcases. There are six cockatoos hiding in the attic. The tactic of saying one thing but showing another can bring a lot of excitement intention into the book. Children love to be able to pick out the differences for themselves and read the true story through the pictures. Let's explore some of the visual elements of picture books. First off, its composition. Direction of the composition is an important aspect of picture books that doesn't have the same level of importance in other types of illustration. The illustrations in a picture book should lead you through the book from left to right on each spread and from page to page. This can be done subtly by organizing your composition that way, or it can be done more obviously by having your characters running across the page from left to right, for example. Here's an example of a strong composition by Illustrator Marla Frazee in the book, Seven Silly Sisters. See you all, every element in this composition is leading you from left to right and even down a little bit towards the where at the corner of the page would be. Color and white space can quickly communicate the emotion and mood of the story. White space is also a good indicator of mood. An example of strong use of color is, The Tiny King by Taro Miura. The fun quirky mood of the story is immediately conveyed to the reader through its use of bright bold colors. An example of strong white space is The Red Shoes by Gloria Fowler and illustrated by Sun Young Woo. At this point in the story, the main character here is experiencing the low point. This is shown through the illustration by placing her in the very bottom corner of the page and surrounding her with empty, lonely white space. Because the combination of words and pictures is the essence of picture books, topography is a vital element of their design. The text can be typeset traditionally in stanzas like poetry, or it can be more abstract and integrated with the illustrations becoming part of the picture itself. How the text is typeset can communicate a good deal about the story. An example of strong topography is Henri's Walk to Paris by Saul Bass. Just as a side note here, Saul Bass is a super famous graphic designer, it's no surprise that his book has some spectacular topography. Look at the spread from Henri's Walk to Paris and how the text looks to me like little smoke coming out from the chimney, but it's done in a subtle way and not a cheesy way. It just makes you feel cozy and warm looking at it. The chosen perspective of an illustration also communicates emotion and story. If we look down on a character, they often seem as timid, doubtful, or scared. If we look up at a character, they seem as brave, excited, and determined. Cropping the illustration to a close shot or showing a panning landscape also adds to the mood of the story. The book, Sophie's Fish seen here by A.E Cannon and illustrated by Lee White is a great example of strong use of perspective. Look at the spread with an overhead shot of the main character right in the moment of the story where he agrees to take on the responsibility of watching his friend's fish. It gives an air of importance in maybe an ominous feeling, don't you think? Picture books exist in every style imaginable. The art can be more realistic and soft, or abstract and fun. The characters can be pretty representational and straightforward, or even cartoonish and weird. An example of strong use of style is The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall. This story is about where babies come from and the books answers blend realism with fantasy. Each spread has a realistic explanation on the left where you can see the drawings and proportions are pretty realistic with the style that's not too crazy. Well, on the right side, which is a little more childlike of an imaginative explanation, they utilize crazier style and proportions. This is a great example of how style can emphasize and mirror the story and help tell the story more clearly. There's really no preferred medium in picture books. You can use whatever you like. Picture books have always used pencil, pen, ink, watercolor, oil, acrylics, collage, digital mediums, anything. Sometimes the most exciting picture books use a combination of different mediums. Look at this book, Fox's Garden. It's all made out of paper and then photographed as flat illustrations, so really anything is up for grabs. 4. Breaking Up Your Manuscript: I've printed on my manuscript here the three little pigs that you can find in the project assignment. Once you have it printed out, read through the story. Just read through, don't think about what you'll illustrate or characters or anything like that. Just read through the story once and try to really observe it. Then, read through again and highlight what you think are the most vital parts of the story. I'll do that now. Now, I've got my vital elements highlighted. Next, I'm going to underline any descriptions of characters. The first time you read through the story, don't draw or underline anything. But the second times whenever you're underlining the character descriptions and the vital elements, if an image comes to your mind, go ahead and jot it down. If I have an image of this suitcase and I want to remember what's in my head, just go ahead and draw it real quick. Don't spend a lot of time on it, but you might as well just get it out of your head. If you have any thoughts about illustrations, you can jot those down too. I noticed here that they say little pig a lot. Maybe I want this to be baby pig, and I just got a little description for myself to remember later. Now, let's look and see if we can decide what is act 1, act 2, and act 3. That'll help us break up the story. Act one could either be after the line when meets a pig who is a fool or I might put it behind the line, a pig who built his house of straw. Either one can work. For now, I'm going to put it after one meets a pig who is a fool. In this story, act 1 is very short. Then all the action that we have pretty much as act 2, that's how story generally as you have a short act 1, a big act 2, and a short act 3. I think act 3 will start after and kills him with a single shot. That's pretty much the climax of our story. Now, that we've got that done. We can draw lines where we think our page breaks might come. This is just an exercise to split up the text. You'll get more into this in a storyboard. But it's good to do an app too, out of this with the red pin. You might not get exactly 32 pages or hovering spreads you plan on having later, but it's just a good exercise to transfer the texts on your own. That gives me 21 pages. If I really wanted to, I could go back through and rounded out to 32, but I'm going to leave this for now, and I'll get more into breaking story with the storyboard. It's just good to break it up into pieces now before you start drawing. That's it for the manuscript. 5. Character Development Criteria: Character Development Elements. There are a couple important traits that an Illustrator must have or hone to be able to create convincing characters. They must have an interest in human personalities, and an ability to portray personality visually. You can help hone these traits by studying other humans aka people watch as much as you can and practice drawing different emotions. At a conference I attended recently, I heard one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received. At this conference, each attendee submitted an illustration, and our work was projected up onto a screen for a few moments. One by one, a panel of our directors told us their first impression of the piece very quickly. One of the things they kept repeating over and over was that, for example, the girl just look like A girl instead of THAT girl. Their point was, what makes your character different than the next? How is this a unique character we care about and not just another girl? When you're drawing a character, you can't just draw a body and be done with it. You're developing a whole little creature or a person with quirks, flaws, and personality just like you and me. You have to show their personality on the outside, and try to show their true character by how they're drawn and what their proportions are, what they wear, how they smile, how they walk, everything. It's a tall order and a hard feet, but it's so much fun. I have three criteria that I look for in a successful character. The first one I call particularities. These are what make your character unique so that can be identified from other characters immediately. This can be anything from a hairstyle like a braid, or a particular accessory like a red striped shirt. These little particularities and the idiosyncrasies. Particularities also make your character unique so they can be identified from other characters immediately. This could be anything from a hairstyle like a braid, or a particular accessory, like a red striped shirt. These little particularities can be in your face and obvious, like giving your character messy hair to show they are tomboy in nature and wild character traits. But it can also be much more subtle. It's often these subtle touches that really instill personality and realism into your characters. All of these aspects of character development that I'm talking about occur in other art forms as well. One of my favorite character masters is the legendary Miyazaki. Take to hero from the movie Spirited Away. She's one of my favorite examples of subtle idiosyncrasies in a character. There's a scene in Spirited Away where Chihiro is in the boiler room of a bathhouse. She puts on her shoes and walks away. It's simple. But she doesn't just slip into her shoes, she slides them on, takes a step and then taps the toe on the ground. In that moment with that tiny little movement, makes her seem like such a real person. Or, look at these drawings of Chihiro's parents eating. You can only see their backs and all they're doing is sitting down, but you can immediately see their personalities and idiosyncrasies coming through. Adding in these particularities, give realism to your characters, which is important and your readers being able to identify with the characters. It's also important if your story is a fantasy or magical story, like Spirited Away, because the touch of reality makes it much more believable. Remember, don't say your character is timid, or messy, or strong-willed, SHOW IT. My second criteria for successful character is possibilities. Your character should have many possibilities. This means that they should be able to portray a variety of emotions, poses, and perform in any situation. One thing you might want to consider is, you may not want to give your character hat that covers his eyes, as this would make his range of expressions and possibilities much more limited. You also need to realize that you're going to be drawing this character a bajillion times. In this character development phase, you'll draw them over and over, but you've also got to make the whole book. This means that you'll be joining them probably on every page so that's 32 times for the final book. Then you've got to count the numerous versions of storyboards, sketches, and dummy's. I'm not saying draw a simple character just to make life easy on you, but it is something to consider. Perhaps if your main character is a dragon, you can consider how you will draw his scales. If it's feasible to draw every scale on his body, every time you draw him. There's probably a better way to visually represent the scales. Finally, your character should be appealing. Originally, I want to say likable, but I don't think that that's an automatic given. Your character could start out as a bully or a brat, but go through a transformation to come out likable on the other side. Plus, I don't think a character has to be likable to be a great character. Your main character, I suppose, should be likable, so readers care about what happens to him in the story. But what about like Cruella Deville? You weren't supposed to like her, but she's an amazing character. Anyways, I think appealing is a better word. This means that your character should be realistic, original, and flawed. We talked about realism with particularities earlier. Original should be pretty obvious, but flawed? Your characters absolutely have to be flawed. No one is perfect, and no one wants to read about a perfect character, that would be boring. I don't know about you, but I can't relate to someone who is perfect. Make sure your character has some flaws just like real people. Maybe she's not that confident, maybe he's clumsy and always forgets to tie shoes. Let's go through some components of a character. First, we have the body proportions. A character's proportions can communicate a lot right off the back about who they are. Certain stories call for certain proportions. A more serious story might call for more realistic proportions, while a more a quirky story, can utilize more offbeat proportions like large heads and big eyes. Younger characters typically have larger heads and larger eyes that are lower down on the face. Older characters typically have smaller heads and smaller eyes that are higher up on the face. Just like with real people, how our characters dressed immediately tells us a lot about who the person is. Clothing choice as a form of expression for all of us. What you wear does say something about who you are and how you're feeling that day. It's no different with your characters. What your character wears can easily tell the reader if your character is a tomboy or girly girl, messy child or prim and proper, eccentric or average. A character's face is often the best communication tool for portraying emotion. No person or character expresses the same emotion in the same way. When looking at a character, think about some of these aspects. How are the facial features arranged, how big is their mouth, where are the eyes and how big are they, what are their eyebrows doing. Sometimes even hair can be used as a facial feature like Chihiro here in Spirited Away. In a picture book, it's usually not that imperative to draw your characters completely anatomically correct, but you do want them to be recognizable and believable. Try to make your poses somewhat based in reality, even if your character proportions are not. Focus on the gesture of the pose, instead of getting all the body parts correct. Exaggerating the pose a bit will also help to bring more emotion and excitement into the drawing. Sub characters can also add a lot of visual interest to your story, as well as adding secondary mini-narrative that is only in the pictures and not in the words. They also give the child a special narrative that they can follow along on their own without having to be able to read. For example, you could have a little cat companion to your main character that is never mentioned in the words of the story, but is always there in the pictures, perhaps recognize own habit or just being by the main character side. 6. Experimenting: Let's dive into the character development process. If I'm working with my own original story, I prefer to write my story first and get it as perfect as possible. Although a lot of times my story is inspired from an illustration I previously drew. For my process, it's important for me to have a good story first and then the characters and visuals come after. But often once I finish the story and begin illustrating the story line changes too, so it's a bit of back and forth. There's no right or wrong process, everyone has their own and you should experiment with different ones until you find the one that works best for you. Some other illustrators prefer to draw first and some prefer to write first. For this class, I'm basing it on my own process since that's what I know and we're working with this manuscript that was already written by Roald Dahl. We're going to focus on just drawing one character. You can choose any character you want from this story, you could choose Red Riding Hood or the Wolf or either of the pigs. I'm going to choose the third pig, the one that puts up a fight in the end and the one that ends up calling Red Riding Hood. My first tip is to use cheap paper or a cheap sketchbook for your character drawings. You don't want to have any pressure of making a good drawing. Right now you're just focusing on getting everything out of your head and just experimenting with different things, just whatever you have in your head of what a pig looks like. I found that if you draw in an expensive sketchbook like a moleskine, I tend to tense up and I'm worried about everything looking good because I'm wasting an expensive paper. Here I just have a stack of some computer paper that I don't know it cost a few dollars and so there's no pressure for me to make a good picture, I'm just drawing right now. The first things you draw will probably be pretty boring. This is everyone's idea of a pig, it doesn't that good but I just need to get it out of my head because that's what I'm seeing right now. Once you draw the boring things, then as you keep experimenting you'll get into more interesting and original things, but everyone has boring ideas to begin with. You see right now I'm realizing that I don't know what a pigs hind feet look like, so I know that's going to have to be something that I research later on. Don't worry about erasing or anything, just draw. Sometimes it's even good at this point to draw without an eraser. You can start to think about the emotion or mood of your character, what he's doing in the story. This one doesn't seem to be as scared of the other pigs, he seems to have a little bit more will to live in his story. You can start to draw some other things that happen in the story. We have focused too much on other objects, I'm going to have to leave this phone alone. But you can see how these scenes play out with this character 7. Researching References: Visual references are really important in character development, and they can make your imagination feel more real. You can use references for characters, settings, facial expressions, poses, animals, anything. You don't want to copy the images, you just want to use them to help you understand reality. You should try to look for accurate objective photography for your references. Subjective images like illustrations represent the artist's interpretation of reality, and you don't want to draw their interpretation, you want to draw your own interpretation. For this manuscript, The Three Little Pigs, I'm going to research pigs. My character is a pig. I know what a pig looks like, but I don't have a good grasp of the reality of pigs. I like to use Pinterest to organize all my images for character development. You can pin images from anywhere on the Internet, you don't have to stay on Pinterest. But keeping your character and development images on Pinterest is a good way to organize them. You can organize the images in boards, and you can also have secret boards so that other people don't have to look at all your images of pigs. Remember, we're researching reality here, not how other people have drawn pigs. 8. Refining Your Characters: So now we've done our first experiments of character development and we've got our visual references. We're now going to take that information and combine and refine. So any elements from my original sketches that I liked, I'm going to keep drawing on those and experimenting with those and I'm going to ditch the things that I think are weird, which is a lot of things. I'm going to keep my references around me so that I can see what a real pig looks like and not have such wonky ears and weird noses. Another thing we want to be thinking about is the attitude of our character. The pig that I'm drawing, instead of just squealing, he tries to stand up for himself and he tells the wolf that, he's going to need a lot of puff to blow down his house. So he's got a little spunk to his character. I want to make sure that that comes across in the images because it's not explained in the words. So I might try out the pig in different poses where he looks a little spunky. You also want to consider the age of your character. In this story, it refers to the pigs as little pigs, but we're not really sure of the age. So I think it can be ambiguous. These pigs could be really any range, but they look young. You also want to trap extreme versions of your character. Push the elements of the character as far as you can. For example, the nose could be really huge, or the ears can be really small, or the nose could be really small and the ears could be really huge. Along with pushing your character to the extreme, comes experimenting with body proportions. Giving your characters unrealistic proportions gives your story a sense of fantasy and whimsy. Start experimenting with how your character will move around. Turn them in any pose you can think of. You also want to think about costuming. This is a pig, but he could be wearing clothing. We could give him a hat. The story doesn't say if the pig is male or female, so it's really up to us to decide. You can make it ambiguous like the ones I've drawn so far, or you can try and make it more obvious, whichever way you want it to be. You can see now that I'm starting to get more of a character now instead of just a pig. So the more you draw a character, the more you'll get to know them and they'll really come alive. Once you get to this stage, drawing the character over and over, it gets a lot easier because you're starting to get a feel of who they are and where they want you to go. So from here, just keep drawing and we'll move on to our character model sheep. 9. Character Model Sheet: Once you've experimented enough and decided on your final character design, take that character and create a character model sheet for you to use as reference for the rest of your book. Just set your paper up with lines for the body proportions you've already decided on, and then draw your character from the front, back, side, and three-quarters view. Here's my model sheet that I made for piggy number three based on my character drawings. I first did it on in pencil and then I outlined it in pen. So it's a little cleaner and I can see all the little details. I've gotten from the front, the side, the back, and three-quarters view. Doing this really helps you analyze the parts of your character and make sure that you know, what does piggy look like from the back, what his legs will look like from the side. Various things that you might not think about otherwise, but you need to know for your whole book. Later on, once you begin working on the final illustrations, you can come back to your character model sheet and add in color and texture for a more updated character model sheet if you'd like. Let's move on to the storyboard. 10. Storyboard Elements: A storyboard is a visual thumbnail layout of your whole book. It's a tool to let you think through and plan out the layout of your book. Storyboards allow you to see how you'll start progress to you because a whole help breakup story to fit the format, great rhythm and movement, because I'm composition and design that details, and ensure balance and pacing. Before we get into how to make your storyboard, let's look at some types of illustrations. We have four types that we're going to go over. Boxed, vignettes, spots, and full bleeds. First, let's look at boxed illustrations. For this I'm going to show you where the other thing s are, by Marie Sivek. He uses box illustrations throughout the beginning of his book, and a box illustration is an illustration that has a frame and does not extend to the edges of the page. So you always have some white space around the illustration. A boxed illustration does not necessarily have to stay all the way in the frame. You can see here that some of the leaves are starting to pop out of the frame just a little bit. Another example of Box illustrations is the Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Alan Ahlberg. Here you can see that they use box illustrations with the little frame around the illustration. You can either have a frame around or not. The next type of illustrations is vignettes and Beatrix Potter, the author and illustrator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, is like the master of vignettes. She uses vignettes in almost all the illustrations. A vignette is an illustration whose edges fade into the white. Here you can see it's not quite a boxed illustration because there's no defined edge around the illustration. It fades out here, the edges into the white space. The next illustration is spot illustrations. Spot illustrations are small, free floating illustrations that have no background. For example of that, I'm going to show you the true story of The Three Little Pigs by [inaudible] get illustrated by Lane Smith. Here's an example of a spot illustration. It's free floating, it's not attached to anything, it's small and it has no background. A little bit like a vignette. The next type of illustration as flow bleep. For that I'm going to show you my all time favorite book, Max Deluxe by Mayor Coleman. She uses full bleed illustrations on almost every page. Here's an example who full bleed, that's actually full spread too. That means that the illustration extends all the way to the edges of the pages and runs past them, filling the entire page or the entire spread. It could be one full illustration across the entire spread like this, or it could be two separate illustrations. This is full bleed on the page and full bleed on the page. Full bleed illustrations are often used to heighten drama and are often used in the climax of the story. Finally, you don't have to choose just one type of illustration. You can and should mix it up and combine them throughout your whole book. A great example of this is locomotive by Brian Floca and this actually won the Couple award this year. He does a great example of using some vignette this would be full bleed on the page. A little bit on the page vignette. Then in moments of drama or like heightened excitement, he uses more of a full bleed. He does a really good job combining them in the page and the design. See this has a lot of drama in this image. So that's it. Those are the types of illustrations and picture books. Remember, you want to try and buy them and combine them in your storyboard. You just have to create rhythm and pacing. 11. Setting Up Your Storyboard: I typically work through six stages when I storyboard. First, I set up my storyboard. Second, I break up the story. Third, I focus on composition and rhythm. Fourth, I focus on movement and pacing. Fifth, I analyze for repetition, and finally, I create a tiny dummy. In-between those stages can be multiple storyboard versions, and after the dummy, I may need to go back and revise the storyboards more. Let's jump in and see them in action. I've attached my storyboard template that I use to plan my stories in the project assignment section. You can use this template for your storyboard or make your own if you like. For these tablets, there are three options. Landscape, portrait or squared. You don't have to be completely sure what size your final book will be. You should pick a size and work with that. But the publisher and designer will work with you to finalize what the size of your book will be if it's taken on. What you do have to know is whether the book would be oriented as landscape or portrait. Typically, put your books with a lot of wide vistas and settings would be in landscape, and books with taller elements like skyscrapers or trees may work better in portrait. It's up to you and is worth experimenting with. Measures and books you like and see how the illustrations fit in their proportions. I prefer to start out storyboarding very small like the thumbnails on this template because if I like too large, I end up spending too much time drawing details. For at least your first few storyboards in the process, you should focus on the overall layout and design, placement of elements and overall spread, not specific details. I find that working small helps keep me focused. So I've got my storyboard template here, and all the pages are already numbered, from page one here all the way down to page 32 here. The first thing we're going to do is set up the front matter. You'll remember from the last class that the first two to four pages in your picture book are reserved for front matter. This includes the title, author and illustrator names, maybe a half title, publisher, copyright and dedication. So on your template, leave the first few pages blank for now and begin your story on either page 3 or page 5, depending on how much room you think you'll need. You can always change it in a future storyboard once you begin dividing up your story. I think for this story I'm going to start on page 5. So I'll say this is my half title. This is my title page with my copyright information right here, and then my dedication will probably go right here. Now I can start working on my story on page five. 12. Breaking Up Your Story: So let's move on to step two, breaking up the story. You'll probably have to draw out multiple storyboards before you get the story to fit into your picture book format the best way. Unless of course, you did the writers dummy in the last class and totally nailed it. In this first stage, your goals to decide what part of the story will go on each page, what to illustrate and what not to illustrate. Right now you don't want to focus on drawing nice pictures and don't even worry about composition. We're just breaking up and fitting the story into the format and reorganizing structure. No one would draw the same storyboard for the same story. Everyone will interpret it differently and will choose different aspects to highlight. When thinking about how to break up your story as we did before at the manuscript consider points of drama, actions that are vital to the story, emotional moments, and moments that are fully described in the text. So you just want to go through and you can have your manuscript with you that we already worked on earlier. Just go through and sketch out the entire book with very rough drawings, trying not to get distracted by details. In each illustration, what you don't draw is just as important as what you do draw. Some things are better left unseen by the reader. For example, in Where the Wild Things Are, Marx's mum is never drawn or shown in the book, even though she's a very important part of the story. Keeping the mum unseen allows her to be more of a concept than a character and possibly allows more children to relate. Remember, if the picture can say at all then no words are needed. So I'm going to get started on my first storyboard. 13. Creating Rhythm and Pacing: Now that you've gotten your story broken up, the next step is to start refining your compositions and rhythm. Consider your use of full bleed, like here, Vignettes like here, and spot illustrations like here throughout your book. Smart images like spots and vignettes tend to suggest quite a moments, while big images tend to be reserved for more dramatic moments. As you're drawing, you should also begin to consider where the text will be placed, and leave enough room for you to read. You can see in some places I ran out of space and in my next version, I'm going to have to move things around a bit to make room for the text. At this point, I'd just like to put one line for each line of text. There's no need to write out the letters and I probably can't write them this small anyway. When you're drawing your spreads in the next storyboard, it's sometimes helpful to think of each spread as a movie frame that you're seeing through the camera lens. Should you be looking down on the character? Abet them, close up, far away. Viewpoints can communicate emotion and drama quickly, and you want to be able to use a variety of viewpoints and compositions to create rhythm through your story. Also remember to be aware of the gutter on each spread. You don't want to place important elements in the gutter of each page because a little bit of the page will be sucked into the gutter when the book is bound. For example, you wouldn't want to draw your character's face right over the gutter. Say this is a close-up of my little pig. If I were to draw the spread like this, his nose would get sucked into the gutter, and some of it will get cut off probably about that much. Even his eyes might be a little distorted. You really don't want to put anything super important right on the gutter. But it is good to cross the gutter with images because that can be very dynamic and lead your eye across the page. A good way to see and fine tune your rhythm is to redraw your storyboard, with only the large elements. This lets you concentrate on the overall design and composition, rather than the characters and details. Before I get started on the rhythm, I am going to redraw my entire storyboard and focus on the composition. I am going to look at the elements in the spread and redraw them with just a little bit more detail and fine tune some things if I need to make more room for text, or push somethings down so that the overall design of the spread is more pleasing. I'm going to get started on that now. Once you've got your composition all done, for this round, at least, let's look at the rhythm of our storyboard. A good way to see and fine tune the rhythm of your storyboard is to draw your storyboard over again with only the large elements. This lets you concentrate on the overall design and composition rather than the characters in details. Rhythm and pacing is often determined by the size of your pictures. Look at your use of vignettes, spots, or full breed illustrations. It's like if each illustration or element is a beat, and you have to space them out so that they flow together in a rhythm. I'm going to get another storyboard and I'm going to redraw this with only the large elements. I'm not going to draw his nose and his eyes. I'm just going to draw a circle or a shape for each element. Now you can see the large elements of my composition for each spread and throughout the whole book. It's really interesting to look at it this way because you can see how the illustration flow, how the rhythm flows. If you have too much of the same shape, too many full breeds. I think this one has a pretty good balance. I might try to do something with these two to make them not stand out as much. It's more for progression from smaller images to larger images. I'm doing that here with the pigs that are looking through the window. This pig's window is very small, this pig's window is larger and the pig that actually tries to stand up for himself is the largest window. You can have those rhythms and balances in your composition to add some extra meaning to your story. Looking at rhythm overall, and decide if you need to change anything and you can go back and revise your composition, and your overall storyboard as much as you need. 14. Creating Movement: Now that we have strong compositions and a rhythm, we're going to look at our storyboard and focus on the movement within the pages and draw them of the entire book as a whole. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you analyze your storyboard. Do your compositions pull your eye through the page from left to right? Do your spreads looks somewhat unified and flowing together as a whole? Are your compositions dynamic or static? Movement and pacing help the story and characters feel alive, but they also move the story along and can push the reader from page to page. You can use individual elements in your composition like setting, weather or characters to add movement. For example, in this scene where the wolf is walking down to the second house. This movement of him walking and the draw flowing like this creates movement throughout the page, and so it carries your eye through this page, but then also into the next spread. Using elements like this and having your characters moves through the page will create movement in the spread and make it more dynamic. The overall design of your spread can also add movement, pulling the reader from left to right through the spread and to the next page. You can use spots and vignettes for smaller detailed movements like here to speed up the story, and full-page illustrations like here. These are two-full bleed pages for building up the story. Then full spread, full bleed illustrations like here. For peaks and action. In a novel or chapter book, the story pauses at paragraph breaks, commas, and periods. In a picture book, the story pauses between pages and a spread, and between spreads at page turns. So each of your spread illustrations has to be strong enough not only to communicate the story, but also to entice the reader to turn the page. Movement within the spreads from left to right is one way to entice the reader. Movement within the spreads from left to right, like seeing here, is one way to entice the reader by leading them straight from where they start reading to the page corner. Another way to create strung page turns is by ending spreads with a moment of tension or uncertainty. So the reader is tempted to turn the page, for example, here on page 19, this spread ends the line will huffed and puffed and blue and blue. So the reader is enticed to turn the page because we want to know what happened. Did he blew over the house? Did he eat the pig? We don't know. We want to turn the page to find out. Close ups are often used at moments of high emotion or action, such as elation or fear. For example, here, when the third pig cause red riding hood, I zoom in on his face a little instead of showing him so far away to really zoom in on his emotion of fear. Then on the opposite page, contrasting that is him very small, holding up a phone that's obviously way too large for him. So showing this distant shot of him and making them very small shows that this is his low point and that he's having self-doubt. I haven't done so in this storyboard, but you can integrate a subplot into your book as another way to create movement. You can drop visual clues through the story to add meaning to the story, and can even sign up another visual narrative to run parallel to the text. We talked about sub characters and the character development lecture and that's where this comes into play. Clues like these entice the reader to turn the page and keep the story moving along and give the child a deeper interaction with the book as they are able to read a sub narrative on their own that wasn't mentioned in the words. 15. Analyzing for Repetition: Now that we've got our movement working well, let's look at repetition in our storyboard. Just like in the text of the picture book, there should be a rhythm to your illustrations as well. Repetition of certain images or design layouts can help emphasize rhythm. Similarities and repetition give the reader a feeling of familiarity. This helps the reader follow and enjoy the story and also makes moments where you break from the repetition all the more powerful and exciting. One way that I use repetition in my storyboard is having the pigs lookout from the window of their house in the same way. So here's the first pig looking at his straw house. It's a full-page, full bleed illustration, with the pig looking out the window here in the center of the page. Then with the second pig and the twig house, we have the same layout, but of course this house will be made out of twigs. Still a full-page, full bleed illustration. But his window is slightly larger than the last window. To create repetition, but also a little bit of diversity. Then, the third pig in the brick house is the same layout, full-page, full bleed, but the window is even larger and you can see more of the pig, so the pigs get progressively more courageous until the third pig. I also use repetition in having the wolf laying down. Here after the wolf has eaten the first pig, you can see him laying down, relaxing after he has eaten the first pig. Then after he's eaten the second pig, you can see him laying down in another position, stretched out on his back with the two pigs insight his belly. Then finally, after Red Riding Hood kills the wolf, he stretched out like one of those tiger hunting rugs on someone's floor. So you have the repetition of the wolf lying down, which ultimately leads to the resolution. So here are some questions to ask yourself about repetition in your storyboard. Is there a good amount of repetition in your compositions? Are there too many of the same types of illustrations, for example, to many vignettes or full bleed illustrations. Is their variety in how your characters are posed. Is your character always facing forward and never from three quarters view? Is there a repetition and variety of viewpoints? Finally, do you have a balance between lab busy images and quiet small ones?. Sometimes images that are simple with a lot of white space like this one where the brick house was still standing can be the most powerful. After analyzing for repetition, redraw your storyboard if you find that there's not enough or too much repetition of any elements. 16. Making a Tiny Dummy: Before I move on to final sketches, I'd like to make a tiny little dummy with my storyboard thumbnails to see the page turns and impact more clearly. Sometimes I make a copy of my storyboard, cutoff the spreads, and then tape them together to make a little book. Another times I just make a little booklet with paper and I quickly sketch rough sketches into the booklet to give an overall idea of the book. For this dummy, I made a copy of my storyboard and I'm just going to cut out the thumbnails real quick. Once you've got all your spreads cut out, take the first one with the half title and a blank page and put it face down on the table. This will be like the cover for your little dummy. Then take the second spread and fold in half with the content on the inside. Then take this third spread and do the same thing, fold it with the content on the inside. Now you've got these two blank pages coming together. You're going to take those two pages together. Then continue with your fourth spread, putting the two blank pages together, you're basically making an accordion bug here. I'm just going to go through this real quick with all the spreads. This is our little dummy. We've got the half title, the copyright and title, the dedication, and then here's our first page of our story. The dummy is really a thinking tool and it may not make that much sense to other people, but when you've been the one making these storyboards and sketches, it makes a lot of sense to you. Seeing it in book format really points out some of the mistakes that you might have made. It's better to realize all your mistakes now rather than once you start drawing your final illustrations and your final sketches. Because then, it's a lot harder to go back and change the design and composition. That's my whole little book. If you're having a hard time working with storyboards, a very good exercise is to storyboard an existing picture book. Here's a storyboard that I drew of the book, A Very Fuddles Christmas, written and illustrated by Frans Vischer. I just went through the story, page by page, and drew the main elements of the book. Here you can see the half title, and I do the half title, then the copywriting dedication and the full title page. Then here's the first spread with a full bleed, full-page illustration and then two spot illustrations. You can see I drew just very simply a full bleed full-page illustration. I even wrote at the top full and two spots. In a quick glance, I can see what illustration she used throughout the story. This is a really good exercise that helps you clearly see how an experienced illustrator uses a variety of compositions and repetition to create rhythm and pacing throughout their book. It's a really great learning experience and taught me a lot about how to storyboard. I really recommend that you try it out. That's all it for storyboards and dummies. 17. Setting Up Your Sketches: Once I've got the spread printed out, I tape it down into my live box. Then I tape another blank page on top. Then I lightly trace the drawing onto the new sheet of paper, and here I don't focus on drawing the tiny details. I just want to get the composition down onto the page in the right spots and the right size. Let's do that real quick. 18. Refining Your Sketches: Now that I've got my basic composition sketch, I'm going to just go through and refine the drawing. This can sometimes be a long process and may involve multiple rounds of drawing; so let's get started. When you're refining your sketches, you also really want to consider the text placement as well. I like to write out the actual words instead of just lines like in the thumbnails, to see how they fit in the space I've allotted for them. The texture have a good amount of room to breathe around it, so it's easy to find and read. Traditionally, text and picture books is laid out like a poem in stanzas such as this, and in a Serif typeface. But tons of books break that standard. Some use San-Serif, some design the text to be more unified with the illustration, some of the text is wrapping around the illustrations, and some even use hand-drawn type. It can be fun to integrate the text with the illustration and can definitely make a powerful book, but do be careful not to go overboard. The picture should stand out and be the star of the spread. So I think that's a pretty good type layout for now. Once I get into Photoshop, I can type out the text and readjust as I need to. 19. Creating Your Final Drawings: For my final drawings, I just placed my refined sketch on a light box, just like we did before, and I'm going to trace over the drawing on a new sheet of paper. Usually, my final drawing is completed in pencil, but sometimes I use pen. You can choose whichever material you prefer to work with. I also had a few things that I wasn't that happy with in my last sketch. I thought his arms maybe weren't the best here. His arms definitely weren't the best here, they were a little awkward. This wolf in general, I wasn't really a fan of. I didn't think that he matched the style of the pigs. I went ahead on another sheet of paper and I drew out some other options. I'm going to not trace this wolf and I'll instead trace this wolf that I drew before. Let's get started on our final drawing. When you are drawing your textures, if you do it on a separate piece of paper, it's also a good idea to trace the outline of the page again just as you did on your line drawing because then you can easily line them up in Photoshop when you scan them in. That's all my line drawings and textures. 20. Cleaning Up in Photoshop: Once I'm happy with my final drawings, I scan in the line work and pencil textures, and open them up in Photoshop. I placed the texture file on its own layer above the line work file, and labeled them each. Then I'm going to turn both layers on, and turn the pencil textures on multiply, so that it becomes transparent and I can see both layers together. Then I'm going to take the paint brush tool, and color any white over any weird marks on the page that I see on each individual layer. So now we've got all our line work cleaned up. 21. Typesetting in Photoshop: A designer will be the one to choose the typeface and overall typographic layout from your book, if it's published. But you as the illustrator, still have to plan for the text and have a spot for it to go. The text should be somewhat integrated with the design, so it doesn't appear to just have been slapped on haphazardly. It's a good idea not to choose a crazy typeface for your book. You're really designing the text as a place holder for now. You want it to be legible and clean, and not distract from your pictures. I'll just type in my text and place it where I had planned before on my sketches. I am going to use the typeface Baskerville. It's one of my favorite typefaces and it's a clean set of typeface. A good font size, if you're working on an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper like I am right now, is probably about 18. There's no standard but this looks about right to me. Now you can start to play around with the layout of the type and fit it on the page with the rest of your composition. I think that's about good for now. We can always come back and change it later on. 22. Digital Coloring in Photoshop: Color is one of the most noticeable and influential elements of an illustration. It can greatly affect the mood and overall tone of this spread and immediately convey the emotion of the story. Before beginning to experiment, consider if you want your overall book to be bright and colorful, or muted and quiet. Which one would fit the story best? You can also mix them up and use hits of color and spreads that pack the most action to have even more of an impact in contrast to the other spreads. Color would then each spread also helps to guide the reader's eye. You can highlight your main character by making them stand out from the background with complimentary colors or muting out the background just a bit. I prefer to work with limited color palettes, choosing just two or three colors to work with, and the shades of those colors. I find this constraint makes me pay more attention to how I use the colors and allows me to really focus the reader's eye. It's important to plan your color for the book as a whole rather than just one spread. You need a palette that can be strong on every spread throughout the book, not just one spread. I'm going to show you how I make my color steady with my chosen palette. I'll take the storyboard layer and put it on top and set it to multiply so that the lines will be transparent on top of the colors and I'll just take the paint brush tool and start painting the colors. That's my storyboard color study and it helps you plan out the colors throughout your book using the storyboard format. You can see them all together as one unified book. Now I'm going to go through a very brief overview of my digital coloring process. If you'd like a more in-depth tutorial my coloring process, you can check out my other Skillshare class, scientific illustration conveying information with charm. The last unit in that class takes you through step-by-step of my digital coloring process through a screencast, showing how I color, treat line work, add textures, and create hand-drawing typography. Let's continue with this spread.