|One reason I am an illustrator is that it's easier for me to draw it than
write it. Once my fourth grade teacher, Miss Pearl, assigned us to write
reports about the journey of Marco Polo. When she saw that I was stymied,
she encouraged me to illustrate it. My report turned into a picture book
and I got an "A". Everyone loved my title page with Marco standing
proudly on the prow of his ship, looking toward the distant, unknown world.
One drawing could say all of these words and more!|
Just this example shows how much I need
to be into the story, its events, its people, their feeling and actions,
and the places - as much as the author. And since writing is itself a visual
art, imagine the advantage of sharing that process with Janice, including
our travels through space and time, sketching and noting people, places
Writing with Pictures by Uri Shulevitz
introduced me to the magic of storyboards as the first step in illustrating
a picture book. Using a large sheet of paper I draw a series of rectangles,
one for each page of the book. Then I fill them with quick thumbnail sketches
that tell the story.
The next step is to enlarge the sketches
to book size, incorporating the text. During this process I collect pictures
(photographs, drawings, paintings) and use models (Janice, myself, children
in our neighborhood, horses in a local stable, historic sites, trees, creeks,
and more). Then I refine my sketches by drawing on a light table. With a
sketch taped to the glass top, I lay another sheet of paper over it and
make a more detailed drawing on the lines I can see through the paper. This
process goes on for many a sheet.
Eventually I take out a sheet of watercolor
paper, place it on the light table over my latest drawing, and trace the
lines with a pencil. Then I get out my brush and watercolors and PAINT...WHEW!
Partial storyboard from Young Wolf and Spirit Horse