Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My First Picture Book Dummy Part 3 - Thumbnails

Part 1 - Concept And Inspiration
Part 2 - Writing
Part 3 - Thumbnails
Part 4 - Character Design 
Part 5 - Roughs 
Part 6 - Finals

In parts 1 and 2 of this series I wrote about my inspiration, concept, and writing process for my first picture book dummy that I'm putting together about a little girl with a pet tiger.

Using a spreadsheet for my writing was quite useful when I reached the thumbnailing stage. I already had it all laid out and separated according to each spread. Of course thumbnailing is it's own process and tweaks were made along the way.

Very rough thumbnails
The above thumbs are incredibly rough and likely readable only to me. They were done really quick to get down the compositions that I had in mind for each spread. Things were moved around several times at this point to get the visual pacing right. I did all these digitally within photoshop, which is how I typically sketch. I never nail things on the first pass and so I love the flexibility of working digitally.

A typical picture book is 32 pages, but that includes what they call the front matter. There are a bunch of templates if you do a google search but I ended up making my own, you can try it if you like. There seems to be debate about exactly how many pages to leave empty at the front of the book. The consensus seems to be 3 to 5 pages, depending on whatever feels right for the book. So I put my title page on page 5, which also showed the family getting the tiger from the pet store as a way to set up the story.

A step I should have taken would have been to create a second set of better refined small thumbnails focusing more on each composition, and maybe even adding colour. I may revisit this for some roughs that still need to be resolved. I'm one of those eager beavers and it's always a struggle not to jump over the important foundation work.

What I did do though was create large thumbnails. Large enough that they were really more like preliminary roughs.

A large thumbnail, but really a preliminary rough for pages 8 and 9

I took these roughs and made a pdf out of them using inDesign, adding in the text as well. This gave me my very first test dummy.

Next week I'll go into my character design. This is going a bit backwards because a lot of it was done during the writing stage. I made a big omission when I designed my characters, but you'll have to check back next Wednesday to read what it was.


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