Friday, December 20, 2013


When I begin a new book,  I always find myself a little overwhelmed. It doesn't matter that I have illustrated 18 books now … it is a daunting feeling to be faced with 32 blank pages… and a deadline! Choosing which words will fall on each page or,  'paginating' the manuscript is where it all begins. There is no wrong or right way to do this because it is personal to each artist.  The main question I ask myself as I go is, "Does my reader feel compelled to turn the page?" A suspenseful moment can be made or broken here.

To do this I sit quietly with my manuscript and imagine pictures as I read. The first 3 pages I leave blank for front matter: subtitle page, copyright page, and title page.  The story almost always begins on pages 4 and 5, and ends on page 32.  I make backward L's with a pencil after each chunk of text, and I break it up into 2 page spreads. This is not as hard as it sounds!

Pssst … Music with words distracts me when I do this so I listen to instrumental music, or to music with words I don't understand, which is practically anything besides english!

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