Practicing Picture Books With A Pro

I recently attended a regional SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) conference and learned some new things about what makes a great picture book. Of course the pictures have to be beautiful and visually compelling and have an entertaining story told in simple language, but creating a wonderful book is so much more complex than just the combination of those two things. A magic mixture of elements has to come together to create a really good picture book.

I also participated in a workshop lead by Martha Rago Associate Creative Director at HarperCollins Publishers. It was a challenging project focused on picture book character development, putting the characters in a setting in their world and creating a jacket image for the cover. Martha provided a synopsis of a story under development entitled “Princess Cupcake” for us to work with. She reviewed in-progress sketches, made comments and then critiqued the finished work. Here is the cover and two finished spreads that I created for the project. I couldn’t resist giving the princess a cat friend and also threw in some of my hand-lettering.