HOW TO CREATE A PICTURE BOOK
Over the past two years of I AM in print interviews, one-to-ones and workshops we recognised a need for writers and illustrators of picture books to directly connect with agents, publishers, established author / illustrators and each other. So we could honestly not have been more excited to host this online How To Create A Picture Book day.
Whether you want to know how to perfect your submission package, how an agent or editor works with an author or illustrator, how picture book authors and illustrators are matched, what trends will always appeal to young readers and listeners, how to improve your illustration craft, what makes good prose or rhyming text, or even learn about the history of picture books then we had all the right guests for you.
We were delighted to kick off our How To Create A Picture Book Day with the Story Godmother herself, Amy Sparkes. Having penned over a dozen picture and chapter books, and with a middle grade comic fantasy book being released in 2021, Amy is hugely popular as a Go To Resource within the writing community, offering fantastic advice on piecing picture books and chapter books together. Transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, Amy is the perfect person to help you identify your story idea, create a great character and help with language that children and tired parents love to hear.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT PICTURE BOOK?
The Story Godmother talked about :-
- Who could your main character be?
- What is the ideal spread length and word count?
- Where can you find inspiration?
- Why should you be writing it now?
- When should you submit it?
Our own children love the exploits of rascals turned heroes Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam so we were delighted that co-creator of this fabulous duo, among many other characters, is with us for an exclusive online masterclass on the art of clever wording. During the last decade, Tracey Corderoy has produced over 75 children’s books with publishers including Little Tiger Press, Nosy Crow, Scholastic, Alison Green, Meadowside, Egmont and Stripes. Tracey shows her own journey into writing, provides inspiration for how to engage with a young audience and discusses the technical aspects of rhyme and prose to engage readers aged 3-11.
THE POWER OF WORDS
Tracey covered :-
- How picture books play an important role in a child’s development
- The powerful messages a picture book can convey
- The use of humour in books to engage young readers and listeners
- Rhyme or prose – what text best fits your story?
- Rhythm and rhyme – clear scansion, consistent pace; write clever rhyme that children (and grown-ups!) remember and repeat
- Make each word earn its place – how to tell your story using the correct amount of words
DIRECTOR AT THE BRIGHT AGENCY
When you meet Arabella Stein you will know immediately from her knowledge, expertise and passion for children’s picture books why she is one of the best agents in the business. Her role as Director of the Bright Agency is to recognise the talents of writers and illustrators and produce collaborations of the highest order which children everywhere will enjoy. In this session Arabella bridges the gap between picture books and chapter books and reveals what trends are in and which are out, and offers tips on how to make your submission sit up in the agents’ pile.
WHAT DOES A LITERARY AGENT LOOK FOR?
- Explore the narratives between picture books and chapter books
- Recognise how collaborative working is key to success
- Grab an agent’s attention with your own submission
- Ensure your book is a dream to sell – which trends are in, and which are definitely out
- Explain how an agent will support you throughout your publishing career
AUTHOR / ILLUSTRATOR
Tom McLaughlin never fails to make us laugh. Add this to the success of his picture books and chapter books and you have an engaging, fun live drawing session you can be part of. A former political cartoonist and animation designer for various TV shows he has been published with great success by houses such as Bloomsbury, Puffin, Scholastic, OUP, Walker and Barrington Stoke. Nominated for countless awards, his books have been translated into over ten different languages. Whether you are an illustrator or a writer of text you can learn how to bring your story alive through illustrations and add emotion to your character with a single stroke of the pen. This is a practical session exploring how to use digital artistry to create captivating illustrations. Illustrating tools at the ready!
WRITE PICTURES AND DOODLE WORDS
Tom says “anyone can draw” and he showed us how:
- Pick up hints and tips for improving your illustrations or even knowing where to start
- Develop a character young readers will love, or not like at all!
- Apply illustration techniques to build emotion into the story
- Understand what illustrations work for both picture books and chapter books and what actually is the difference
- Maintain a busy career as an author / illustrator in quieter times
COMMISSIONING EDITOR AT WIDE EYED EDITIONS AND FRANCES LINCOLN CHILDREN’S BOOKS
We were delighted to welcome Commissioning Editor and Author Lucy Brownridge into our amazing line-up. A fan of funny, deceptively simple picture books, Lucy has developed and edited books with Alan Ahlberg, Quentin Blake, Bruce Ingman, Sandra Dieckmann, Yuval Zommer and Joe Coelho among others. She is the author of Illuminightmare as well as the Portrait of an Artist and Art Masterclass series. In our session she fascinated us all with the history of picture books, a rare treat to learn how picture books today began and how they have evolved. And with her publishing hat on, Lucy provided much-needed submission advice, always with the aim of encouraging a love for reading both words and pictures.
FROM RESEARCH TO EDITING – HOW THE BOOK COMES TOGETHER
Commissioning Editor, Lucy covered :-
- The history of picture books – where did the idea come from and how have they evolved?
- How to encourage a love for reading both words and pictures
- Turn thorough research into beautiful non-fiction about history, art, science and the natural world
- Inject humour into your fiction for young readers
- Which editing processes does a picture book go through before reaching publication?
- How YOU can make your submission stand out in the publishers’ pile
Sarah is a children’s book designer with over 20 years’ experience. She has been part of the in-house team at Orchard and Hodder, and managed the picture book list at Egmont, but now works as a freelancer for a variety of publishers including Bloomsbury, Thames & Hudson and Wren & Rook. As well as producing picture books, her addiction to buying them shows no sign of abating. In this lively session, Sarah demonstrates how designers work with writers and illustrators, and helps us understand how fonts, images and colours are used to enhance a story, always with a budget in mind.
COVER TO COVER – MAKE YOUR BOOK STAND OUT
Sarah may talk glitter, gatefolds and text colour but also covered :-