January 15, 2009
Notebooks and Ideas!
All my ideas started life in my notebooks. Publishers love notebooks! Fill them with doodles, anything that interests you, overheard conversations, ideas. They don't have to be totally worked out. Publishers and editors will look through your notebooks and if they have a good eye they can spot ideas that could make a great picture book.
If you are getting a portfolio ready for college, start keeping notebooks. They will be the first thing Tutors will look at when they open your portfolio. They give tutors an idea of how your creative mind works. How you get ideas, develop them and finally work them out.
If I am starting a new project and looking for ideas and I get stuck I go back and look through my old notebooks. The Ravenous Beast started as a card design called Ravenous Monsters I painted in 1994. When I first went to Walker Books they spent most of the time looking through my notebooks. Amelia the head designer saw this painting and said mmm... interesting. It started from there.
Then I started to develop the idea. First I do lots of writing...basically anything that comes into my head. And I doodle a lot, very scientific. You have to be completely open, the story could go in any direction and sometimes in the wrong direction!
Then I work on character, you have to get to know your characters so draw them over and over again.
Next, I make up a mini dummy book in black and white to see if it's readable, that it works when you turn the page. Then I read it to my kids or anyone who will listen! Then I keep improving the original dummy book, at this stage I work with my editor.
Here is a copy of the original Ravenous Monsters card and my first thumbnails for the Ravenous Beast it gives you an idea of how rough the original idea was.
So no excuses get doodling!