Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How to write and illustrate a picture book for your kids (a picture book guide for beginners)

Last night I thought I'd do what I've been meaning to do for ages, write and illustrate a picture book outlining the simple steps you can take to write and illustrate a story book for your kids.

I had already done one very rough draft so I didn't start from scratch but it still took a little time (especially as I had a toddler with a temperature of 39.9 degrees who still thought it was fun to run around at 12.30pm!)

I would love you to take a look and let me know what you think. It is still a draft.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Putting some water colour onto simple sketches

Summer is finally here (we wait a long time for it here in Sweden!) and it is lovely. I am taking my little family swimming in a lake 'tonight'. Sofia wanted to go swimming in the night time as it sounds exciting. However, it is light here until 11.30pm so she probably won't notice the difference.

Anyway, back to books! I have added some colour to my sketched book ‘My Daddy’ and invite you to have a look. I literally painted some watercolour over my sketches and it took me only 20 minutes. It was fun, easy and quick.

If you like the look of this technique I would really recommend it to those who are short of time.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

A wonderful interview on the benefits of books for children.


I just read an amazing interview on a blog called Playfyl Learning. The post is called What to Read and When by Pam Allyn. In the interview Pam Allyn speaks about the positive impact books have on children and how to make the most of them in your family life.

You can find the post at http://www.playfulearning.com/Playful_Learning/Playful_Learning.html

I am so new to blogging that I don't know how to link back properly to the blog yet- so please forgive me!

Creative Mum

How to find a structure for your children's storybook

a. Have a look back at your list of books your child loves to read and go to your child’s bookshelf (or to the children’s section in the library) and have a browse through the books.

b. Can you identify how the authors have structured their stories? Here are structures to look out for:

i. Repetition (i.e. Where is Molly’s Panda? Is it... is it... is it...).
ii. Rhyme (i.e.The Cat in the Hat).

iii. Plot driven stories have a clear beginning, middle and end with a hero or heroine who has an obstacle they need to overcome (i.e. books in the Winnie the Pooh series).

iv. Factual theme based books are focused on themes such as counting, the alphabet, tractors, fish etc...

v. Wordless books for the very little ones some books are simply theme based with pictures and no words (i.e. red things, blue things, green things).

c. Now choose a story structure your child enjoys and you feel comfortable and confident you can replicate yourself.

Congratulations you have chosen your story structure!

Hint: For your first couple of books keep your story structure very simple. If creating your book at any point ceases to be fun, make it more simple!

Monday, June 22, 2009

How to find an idea for your picture book.

1.Write down the names that first come into your head of the storybooks your child loves reading the most.

2. Write down the things your child is most enjoys doing, playing with, learning about.

3. Now have a look at your book list. Are there any themes emerging i.e. monsters, dinosaurs, everyday stories about children just like them, stories about an animal who has the same everyday experiences they have, counting, colours, cats, fish, fantasy adventures about princesses…

4. Have a look at your second list. Are there themes that cross over between the two lists?

5. Now choose a theme from one of your lists. Choose a theme you know both you and your child really enjoy. Congratulations you have chosen your theme! (I told you it would be easy.)

Hint: If you find yourself worried about your ability to draw or paint the characters for the theme you have chosen take a moment now to think back to the times when you have sat with your child and drawn these characters together. See, you can draw! That can be your style. Your pictures need not be much more sophisticated than that (and I bet your child thought your drawings were great!) so, let go of that worry. And anyway, no one need see your artwork but you and your family if you are really shy.

Here you can read the second book I made for my little one. You can see the theme is simply the things that Sofia loves... Feel free to use this theme yourself. It makes writing your first book easy and fun to do.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

How to write and illustrate your first children's storybook

How to write and illustrate your first children’s picture book

I thought over the next couple of weeks I’d give you some tips on how to get started writing and illustrating your first picture book for your kids.

There are a few simple steps to follow:

1. Find a story idea
2. Find a story structure
3. Write your story
4. Divide your story into pages and start sketching in some illustration ideas.
5. Find your illustrating style.
6. Decide on the physical look and size of your book.
7. Illustrate your story.
8. Publish your book on piggypublishingpdventures.ning.com
9. Bind your book
10. Share you book with your little one!

Tomorrow I’ll show you an easy way to find a story idea.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Storybook sketches

The other day I was sitting at the table in our living room with Sofia and Joel's drawing paper and pens and pencils were front of me. My husband and the little ones were busy building a cubby house. I started to do a sketch of the cubby house they created, then an idea for a new picture book came into my head and hence the book 'My Daddy' took form.

Here are my sketches...

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Idea to finished children's storybook within an hour?


I realize that probably the number one reason many people don't finish writing and illustrating children's storybooks for their kids is because of a lack of time.

I know time is a major obstacle for me. Each page I illustrate has, up until now, taken me at least an hour to complete. So, working at that speed (with always so many other things to do on my list) I haven’t ended up creating many finished books.

Today I decided to see if I could get over this obstacle of time and actually get a picture book written and illustrated for my little boy Joel within an hour. That is from idea to finished product within an hour.

Did I succeed? Yes and no.

I succeeded in writing and illustrating a whole book within an hour and 20 minutes, which I thought was pretty good.

And the quality of the book? Well, let’s just say it was really fun to ‘turbo create’ a picture book and I am very happy with the result. I wouldn’t say it was a beautiful piece of art by any means but I did have fun and my kids thought it was really good. At least my daughter loved it, Joel was too busy playing with his cars to sit down and read it with me all the way through.

Well, you can decide for yourself. The book is called ‘Joel Loves Cars' and is here for you to read.

Maybe you will get inspired and set aside an hour and a half to write your storybook from start to finish? I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun doing it (not to mention your kids will love having a book written just for them).

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The first book I wrote and illustrated.

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Writing and illustrating storybooks for your kids.

For me there are few things more enjoyable than writing and illustrating picture books about and for my kids.

I am not an illustrator or a published children’s author (at least not yet!) but I discovered the joy of writing and illustrating books for my little ones a little over a year ago. In fact, I think the impetus was an overwhelming desire to do something for myself and to have a creative output. My daughter was two and a half and my baby was six months old, so if you have children you have probably experienced the craving for something other than changing nappies and playing the games they made up.

This time I wanted to play and the way I ‘played’ was by writing and illustrating a couple of books about and for my little girl. I wanted to capture all those quirky little things that she likes and does before she grew up and I forgot them. I wanted her to be able to read a book in which she was the main character, in which she was celebrated. I wanted to create something that would not only mean something to her now but would bring her joy in many years to come, something that hopefully she will share with her own children.

And so I did.

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to write and illustrate stories for your kids. You get to be the child in kindergarten again. You get to play with the crayons and paints. Nobody is judging your work, your little ones will love it because it is for and about them. And the surprising thing is that when you write from your heart and draw from joy the books that result are fantastic. You seriously do not need to be a wonderful artist to do this. You can draw stick figures if you fancy or you can use photographs or pictures cut out from magazines. There is no right and no wrong, which is incredibly liberating.