Stories grow in words and images. The writer’s job is to tell a story in words. As we read the writer’s words appear as pictures in your head. The picture book is a special case, a collaboration of words and pictures on the page. In the picture book world it is common for a writer to create a story in words alone, but they write knowing the finished book will have pictures with their text — they must trust that the illustrator make pictures that are faithful to the story.
Illustrating someone else’s words is a lot of responsibility. My job is to read the writers words and watch the pictures that pop into my head. I try to get on paper what I see when I read — keeping in mind that I can show more than the words say.
I’ve put together several pages of picture book illustrations and added links where you’ll see how I build stories working in both in pictures and in words.
Making a Picture Book
Here’s one picture from a story about a car in a junk yard that’s never been published. I put this story, and the pictures that go with it, in a dummy book format — that means I made a sample book stapling together pages of draft pictures to show what the finished pictures would look like. To see the dummy click here.
Grandpa’s Story Hidden Within My Story
In Reunion, two boys are fooling around in a model-T car and it takes off down the hill. The idea came from one of my Grandpa’s stories about the first cars and horse poop…. Take a look at the book, and when you get to the car picture you’ll find a link to my grandpa’s story.