I’ve been participating in Pat Cummings’ 2022 Picture Book Boot Camp this summer–it has been such a wonderfully supportive, insightful, productive exercise. I’m seeing real results in my current project, so I’m sharing a sneak peek of one of the characters in the style I’m thinking of using.
Many thanks to Pat and to the talented writers and illustrators in my group!
Okay, I scared myself with this one, so perhaps not the best picture book idea. It started out to be about not wanting to do chores . . . kind of . . . and morphed into the Revenge of the Laundry Monster.
Another fabulous #Storystorm is coming to a close. Last year, in an effort to get a fresh perspective, I decided to take my stash of 30 ideas and create a sketch every day in February, one for each Storystorm nugget (inspired by a #kidlitart sketch-a-day challenge going on at the same time).
I was looking for a quick way to vet some of the ideas, and also shake up my development process. A Famous Illustrator whose workshop I attended at an SCBWI LA conference said that he considered his projects to be wordless stories until the images were in place, THEN he wrote the text. That struck me as a great plan–I had been doing the opposite, figuring I had to have the story written and polished before embarking on the art . . . only to find that my enthusiasm had sometimes left me by the time it came to creating the art.
I think the 2019 experiment was successful–some of the ideas never made the leap from thought to image. Some landed neatly (TOO neatly?), and some took massive coaxing to find a foothold on the other side (scroll down to see the day-by-day efforts). Overall, around seven seemed to me to be worth pursuing.
I wrote about the experience in a post for Tara Lazar’s 2020 Storystorm challenge, and several fellow Storystormers expressed an interest in trying the same thing–Sue Macartney came up with the awesome hashtag: #sketchsquall. So, here we go! I’ll be posting my images here, and on Twitter (@BonnieAdamson) and Instagram (bonnie_adamson). Feel free to follow along–or, better yet, join us! You don’t need to have participated in #Storystorm–we all have snippets of ideas scribbled on post-its or frantically typed into phone apps in the middle of the night. Use what you have! Several non-illustrators have said they’ll be trying the image-before-words process, too. If you’re shy about sharing your work (I don’t encourage anyone to reveal images that might give away the particulars of a unique idea)–you can simply post insights and progress by adding the hashtag.
My gratitude to Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, who came up with the idea; to the book’s editor at Atheneum, Emma Ledbetter, who thought my artwork would be a good fit and supported my vision throughout; to Ann Bobco, who art-directed with such care and respect–and, as always, to my agent, Marietta Zacker, advocate and one-woman cheering section.
For some background and art process talk, please check out the interview post on my friend Elizabeth Dulemba’s blog.
Those attending the Illustrator Intensive at the recent SCBWI Summer Conference in LA were given an assignment to push a previously unsuccessful portfolio piece into a better place. Above is my “after” (and no, I’m not posting the “before”–it was THAT bad!). Still not entirely happy with the piece as it relates to the story, but it *is* better than it was–so, mission accomplished!