Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Storyboard

When I'm satisfied with the pagination, I'm ready to begin drawing the storyboard. To do this I must decide the size of my book. Will it be a horizontal book, a square book, or a vertical one? (If the story is about a giraffe, it will probably be a vertical book.)  Looking at other books and holding them in my hands sometimes helps me imagine what my book will look like in each of these formats.

The questions I must ask myself are endless. What should the first page look like? Should the text go on the top or the bottom? Should it be a two page spread long shot to establish location? A single establishing shot at the start can set the scene, and  give the reader a sense of time, atmosphere, and environment. It not only establishes a location but defines the position of the characters to their surroundings and to each other. Or maybe I should begin with a single page close up view to establish my character? 

Pacing and Rhythm:
Think like a movie director! The way I plan my storyboard will control the speed with which the reader moves through the book. A large 2 page spread invites the reader in causing him to pause, while many small pictures will cause him to move quickly. 

 The composition of each page dictates the reader’s viewpoint, forcing him to look at a scene the way I intend. I can also direct the readers eye to a focal point within each illustration by using various compositional devices. 

With these things in mind, I draw hundreds of little boxes that are proportionate to the size of my book and fill them with rough sketches. These 'thumbnail' drawings allow me to quickly try different possibilities. My intent is to transfer all ideas from my mind onto paper. The process of actually creating the thumbnails often leads me to something I didn’t think of at first. This method produces unplanned thinking, and it is often the product of unplanned thinking that becomes the fruit of our efforts.  
Thumbnails can take me 2 - 4 weeks to complete, and I don't choose my favorites until I have finished thumbnails for the entire book. 

How do I choose my favorites? 
Sometimes this can be tricky and I find myself caught between several favorites. But in the end, my favorites are chosen not only for their composition as a single image, but because of the way they work within the book design as a whole.

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