This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Transcript: 1/27/11

TOPIC: What are your favorite recent picture books, and why?

Here are the books mentioned during the chat (not all "recent," not all traditional picture books, but all deserving of notice)--in (pretty much) the order mentioned:

Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie, by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Keith Bendis

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, by Marla Frazee

The Boss Baby, by Marla Frazee

[or "anything by Marla Frazee"]

The Chicken Thief, by Beatrice Rodriguez

Tales from Outer Suburbia, by Shaun Tan

[or "anything by Shaun Tan"]

Art and Max, by David Wiesner

Bink and Gollie, by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile

Dotty, by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Julia Denos

Chicken Bedtime is Really Early, by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by George Bates

Big Red Lollipop, by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Granny Gomez & Jigsaw, by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Scott Magoon

Lost and Found, by Oliver Jeffers

[or "anything by Oliver Jeffers"]

[anything by Lane Smith]

[anything by Alison Jay]

Tiny Little Fly, by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Kevin Waldron

Little Owl Lost, by Chris Haughton

Ish, by Peter Reynolds

The Dot, by Peter Reynolds

[or "anything by Peter Reynolds"]

Birdie's Big-Girl Shoes, by Sujean Rim

Jim, Who Ran Away from His Nurse, and Was Eaten by a Lion, by Mini Grey, illustrated by Hilaire Belloc

The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon, by Mini Grey

Bats at the Library, by Brian Lies

Interrupting Chicken, by David Ezra Stein

Leaves, by David Ezra Stein

Pouch, by David Ezra Stein

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

Children Make Terrible Pets, by Peter Brown

Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag

The Quiet Book, by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska

Farmer Brown Goes Round and Round, by Teri Sloat, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott

The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams, original edition illustrated by William Nicholson

Chicks Run Wild, by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Ward Jenkins

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson

Oscar and the Mooncats, by Lynda Gene Rymond, illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli

Frog and Toad Are Friends, et al., by Arnold Lobel

Owl at Home, by Arnold Lobel

Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox, by Susan Blackaby, illustrated by Carmen Segovia

Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months, by Maurice Sendak

[and the entire Nutshell Library collection]

In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

Splat the Cat, by Rob Scotton

Love, Splat, by Rob Scotton

Russell the Sheep, by Rob Scotton

Ocean's Child, by Christine Ford and Trish Holland, illustrated by David Diaz

Moo Baa La La La, by Sandra Boynton

But Not the Hippopotamus, by Sandra Boynton

Blue Hat, Green Hat, by Sandra Boynton

Belly Button Book, by Sandra Boynton

[or "anything by Sandra Boynton"]

[anything illustrated by Christopher Denise]

[anything by Dr. Seuss]

Toot & Puddle, et al., by Holly Hobbie

The Monster at the End of This Book, by Jon Stone, illustrated by Michael Smollin

[anything by Shel Silverstein]

Little Red: A Fizzingly Good Yarn, by Lynn Roberts, illustrated by David Roberts

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

CDB, by William Steig

Pete's a Pizza, by William Steig

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig

Bad Kitty, by Nick Bruel

Mostly Monsterly, by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Scott Magoon

Mr. Duck Means Business, by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Jeff Mack

Jeremy Draws a Monster, by Peter Mccarty

Hondo and Fabian, by Peter McCarty

[or "anything by Peter McCarty"]

Morgan Morning, by Stephen Cosgrove, illustrated by Robin James

[anything by Richard Scarry]

[anything by Mercer Mayer]

Otto Grows Down, by Michael Sussman, illustrated by Scott Magoon

Spoon, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Scott Magoon

The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson

Tony Baloney, by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way to Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History!, by Shana Corey, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

Granfa' Grig Had a Pig and Other Rhymes Without Reason, ed. by Wallace Tripp

A House in the Night, by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth Krommes

The Halloween Kid, by Rhode Montijo

Reference books mentioned:

The Comic Worlds of Peter Arno, William Steig, Charles Addams, and Saul Steinberg, by Iain Topliss

A Caldecott Celebration: Seven Artists and Their Paths to the Caldecott Medal, by Leonard S. Marcus

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 1-27-11

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Week 3: What makes a good picture book?

To paraphrase a comment from #kidlitchat this week, one of the biggest mistakes writers make is thinking there's a magic formula for what will sell. A visit to your library or local bookstore will demonstrate the huge variety of picture books on the market. The best advice for writers and illustrators has always been to create what you love.

What makes you fall in love with a project? Once you have satisfied the marketing checklist for appropriate story structure and format, what is the intangible quality that sells a story?

That's our topic for the week--what are your favorite picture books, and why? Our scheduled topic question was whether character-driven or plot-driven books are most effective. That's certainly part of the equation--it's important to examine all the variables: humor, emotion, wordplay, visual quality . . . so many things contribute to the success of a picture book.

For more thoughts on the subject visit Wendy's blog on recent award-winning picture books, then join us Thursday at 9 pm Eastern to discuss your personal favorites.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Transcript: 1/20/11

TOPIC: Welcome tonight's guest, picture book author and host of #PiBoIdMo, @TaraLazar!

Tara's debut picture book, THE MONSTORE, will be released by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster in 2013. Visit Tara at her blog: http://taralazar.wordpress.com, where she hosts Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) and posts topics of interest to children's book creators.

Here are the highlights of last night's chat in Q&A form--questions/comments from chat participants are in boldface, Tara's responses are in italics:

So, does everyone know the exciting news about Tara's upcoming book?
We announced the illustrator, @JamesBurksArt. He just completed initial character sketches. THE MONSTORE has several main characters, which is a little unusual for a picture book. There's a brother and sister, three main monsters, and The Monstore manager. The first stage of illustrating is having editor approve character sketches.

How exciting! have you seen the sketches?
I haven't seen sketches yet. I hope to share them on my blog. It will be interesting to see their evolution.

Was it hard to develop so many characters with minimal words?
It's just the way the story rolled out of me, so I didn't think it was hard. They made sense organically.

Did THE MONSTORE start as a #PiBoIdMo idea?
Yes, THE MONSTORE began as just a title during #PiBoIdMo 2008, which I did just on my own.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
It was just a catchy title at first. Then I met an agent friend at a conf and asked for feedback on my ideas ...so then I had to come up with a premise. I thought, "A store that sells monsters" but needed more oomph ...so then I thought "A boy wants to return the monster he bought because it doesn't spook his little sister."

Lol--love that premise!
So after I had the idea of the boy returning his monster, the line "no returns, no exchanges" came!

Did the agent help you focus which direction you wanted to take the story?
I got my agent after I wrote this story. It's what hooked her. After I signed with her, we changed just one line. And I think that may be a little unusual, too. I was ready to do major revisions, but she loved it as is.

Wow! So you got feedback on it after you wrote the entire manuscript then? I'd think before might influence too much.
Now that I'm working with an agent, I usually pitch her an idea before I write to see if she likes it. And by "likes it" I mean if she thinks it will sell!

So you and your agent worked on it together before pitching to publisher--any changes after sale?
Oh, wow! MONSTORE had a lot of changes after the sale. But they were all changes that made the story better.

Did you hesitate about any of the changes or did you see the benefit of them immediately?
I definitely hesitated! I didn't understand the WHYs behind the changes at first. Once I did, it made changing it easier.

I tend to write too much and edit like crazy when drafting. What's your writing style? Do you edit back or build up?
I try to go straight thru without editing too much. I want to get the story down first. Then I play with language. I don't do rhyming picture books, but I play a lot with sounds, alliteration, internal rhyme, onomatopoeia, etc. It's gotta sound good to read aloud.

What is 'onomatopoeia'?
BAM! BASH! SWISH! WHIFF! Words that sound like sounds.

Are you finding your style changing as you absorb editor's comments on first book?
Interestingly, I am writing simpler. My stories tend to be a bit complex for picture books, so I'm simplifying.

Mind if I ask--how many words in final version?
My newest manuscript is just 407 words. MONSTORE is about 630 words. The two manuscripts I have out now are about 550.

That makes me feel better, My whole dummy I am working on is under 150 words. The pictures fill in so much.
Great. 150 is definitely selling. One of my agent's books got bought a few months ago and it was around that length. I know several others in the 150-250 range.

Over 700 w = too much for PB?
700 words is a bit on the long side. Cut as much as possible. Don't include "stage directions" in the text. Richard Peck once said you can always cut 30 more words each time you look at a page. (Although he was speaking of novels.)

So if it's under 700 it could be used for PB; over 700 and you've got a chapter book?
Length isn't the only genre divider...age of main character is also important. Picture book characters are typically six & under.

So how many other books are in the works?
I have two others out on submission and I just sent my agent a new one yesterday for initial feedback.

You're on fire! Any advice for us on a good story?
I've got this little rhyme: "Think of the hook before you write the book." I do that to make sure I have a winning concept. I used to just sit and write whatever. And writing "whatever" doesn't necessarily get you published.

Do you feel your stories end up character-driven, or does strong hook favor plot?
I think my style tries to balance both. Although I know that character-driven is hot right now. Potential series.

Not to mention licensing possibilities if a character's series takes off.
Yes, the whole Fancy Nancy phenom! Or even Trixie and Knuffle Bunny. Publishers want the next great character.

Can you give an example of a pitch you gave your agent?
It's usually a title and one line about the plot. I love word play so my titles tell a lot about the potential story.

Could you explain "the hook before the book" just a bit more? How to test for good hook?
A good hook is when the story can be boiled down to one line that makes others want to know more.

Do you visualize potential illustrations in your head? Do you tend to use illustration notes?
I'm a visual thinker, but I don't tend to visualize what my chars look like, although I imagine scenes in my head. I do use art notes, but only when it's not obvious what's going on by what I've written.

Do you have a critique group that you work with on your stories?
Yes, I have a local critique group and I have online crit partners. My agent will also critique.

I need a PB crit group as well. Most local groups are MG or YA. Experienced people would be a big help!
You can find folks online. All you have to do is ask! The dynamic of an in-person group is different. With the in-person crits, it's more of a roundtable discussion, back and forth, ideas are exchanged...I am lucky that @ScubaCor lives about 5 miles away. We have two others in our group. One is pubbed in non-fiction.

Do you like both [types of critique groups] equally?
Each have their pros and cons. I think I like my agent critiques best, though! LOL!

When you're writing your story, do you just write the minimal text or do you have illustartion info? That is to say, I expect a whole lot of the story will be carried out through the illustrations.
I include art notes only when it isn't clear what's happening by the text. Yes, 50% of the tale should be told in images. Leave out "stage directions" in the text. No need to say "she clasped her hands in front of her" when it can be drawn.

I think author/illustrators have more specific images come as we write vs. as an author.
Yes, author/illustrators have the benefit of working with both pieces. Peter Brown's CHILDREN MAKE TERRIBLE PETS is a good example because his text was very spare. "They napped together" is the bear & boy asleep on a tree limb. That was a spread, just "they napped together." Three words, 2 pages, 1 illustration. I have a post on my blog that talks about spare language. Let me find it... Saying a lot with a little: http://taralazar.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/saying-a-lot-with-a-little/

Folks may also like to see this PB layout article on my blog: http://taralazar.wordpress.com/2009/02/22/picture-book-construction-know-your-layout/

Wow! That hour FLEW by! Thanks so much for inviting me, @BonnieAdamson and @WendyMartinArt. I had so much fun!

Great info on your blog, Tara!
Knock on my door anytime!

Thank you, Tara!

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 1-20-11

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Special Guest Tara Lazar

We're rolling into week three of the #PBdummy challenge with a special guest: children's author Tara Lazar.

Tara's first book is THE MONSTORE, to be released by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster in 2013with illustrations by James Burks (@JamesBurksArt).

Many of you know Tara, a mom to two young girls, from her blog, "Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)", which regularly posts amazing resources for writers: 400+ Things That Kids Like; 79 Things Kids Don't Like; Picture Book Construction: Know Your Layout (definitely one to bookmark for this challenge!)--just to name a few.

Two years ago, Tara came up with Picture Book Idea Month (#PiBoIdMo) for picture book writers not involved in the annual NaNoWriMo frenzy. During the month of November, participants are challenged to come up with at least one viable picture book idea a day. Building on the success of PiBoIdmo 2009, 2010's challenge was even bigger, featuring over 30 guest bloggers to provide inspiration as well as prizes for those who successfully completed the challenge.

One of the best things to come out of PiBoIdMo 2010, in our modest opinion, was that many of our illustrator friends who had taken part wanted to keep the momentum going--which resulted in kidlitart sponsoring the PB dummy challenge. Thank you, Tara!

Join us for #kidlitart on Thursday, January 20, at 9 pm EST, to meet Tara and find out how she turned her unique picture book idea into a brilliant picture book text.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Transcript: 1/13/11

TOPIC: Writing Pot-Luck: Bring Your Best Tips and Tricks!

Tweets of note:

@CERodriguez:Writing is a lot like throwing up. It may be painful to start but you'll feel better when it's finished.

@jeanie_w: Expect your first draft to come out as senseless crap. Good writing is all in the revisions.

More books for your library:

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook, by Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott

Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go, by Les Edgerton

Link (writing in rhyme):


Depending on which utility you used and where you were, geographically, this chat was either way too fast or way too slow. Enjoy the full transcript below at your own pace!

#kidlitart 1-13-11

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ready for Step 2?

Put on your writing caps!

Now that you have an idea for the picture book, the emphasis for the next four weeks will be on writing the story. For the challenge, we’ll assume most of you are creating original text, but those of you illustrating existing folk tales for your portfolios, or working on nonfiction, or developing concept books, all need to be concerned with story—even a wordless picture book requires a shooting script.

How to write a story for children is beyond the scope of this challenge. There are excellent resources available, though—and, of course, the best training for writing picture books is to READ, READ, READ! Read current picture books and classics. Read prize-winners and family favorites. Read aloud! Read to kids if you have ’em. Conventional wisdom says you must read at least 100 picture books before you ever attempt to write one.

Join us at #kidlitart Thursday, January 13 (9 pm Eastern) for our writing pot-luck! Share your favorite picture book writing tips and tricks.

Some things to keep in mind:

• Picture book plots are usually linear, moving forward through time (no flashbacks).

• Subplots may be implied (or carried through the illustrations), but the text adheres to a simple, single plotline.

• Picture books must have a child as the main character—or a child stand-in (pet; furry woodland creature). An adult main character can work only if he/she exhibits childlike characteristics or behavior (Amelia Bedelia).

• Picture books address universal themes of childhood.

• Problems are solved by the main character, not by a wiser adult.

• Modern picture books are short: 500 words or less is not unusual.

• Beginning-middle-end structure results in a short story; a picture book plot contains tension that can be charted on a curve: rising action (exterior or interior) leading to a climax and quick resolution.

• Picture books most often use third-person point-of-view.

• Just as in a chapter book or novel, the main character should experience growth: change of attitude; newfound confidence; greater understanding, etc.

• Don’t be tempted to rhyme your text unless you’re willing to work to make the rhyme and meter perfect.

• There are exceptions to every “rule” about writing picture books.

Build your library:

How to Write a Children’s Picture Book: Vols. I, II & III , by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock
Volume I: Structure
Volume II: Word, Sentence, Scene, Story
Volume III: Figures of Speech
This series uses classic children’s books as examples to examine structure and grammatical building blocks.

How to Write a Children’s Book and Get It Published, by Barbara Seuling
Contains a useful section focused specifically on picture books.

How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books and Get Them Published, edited by Treld Pelkey Bicknell and Felicity Trotman
Though dated in regard to some business details (first published in 1988), this book contains valuable insights into genres and styles, as well as solid writing advice.

Writing for Children & Teens: A Crash Course, by Cynthea Liu
A breezy intro to the full spectrum of children’s books, with pithy comments on mistakes to avoid.

How to Write a Children's Picture Book, by Darcy Pattison
Ebook based on the popular series of posts, "30 Days to a Stronger Picture Book," from Darcy’s writing blog, Fiction Notes.

Picture Writing, by Anastasia Suen
A unique approach to writing visually.

Worth a second (third and fourth) mention:

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books, by Uri Shulevitz

The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children, by Nancy Lamb

Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication, by Ann Whitford Paul

Links to check out:











Chat schedule for “writing month”:

January 13: Writing Pot-Luck: Bring Your Best Tips and Tricks!

January 20: Special guest Tara Lazar!

January 27: Plot-driven or character-driven: which books are most memorable?

February 3: Who needs a plot? From “One, Two, Three” to Goodnight, Moon

#kidlitart chats are held every Thursday, at 9 pm Eastern.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Transcript: 1/6/11

TOPIC: Picking a picture book project you can live with.

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 1-6-11

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ready, set . . . go!

Kidlitart Picture Book Dummy Challenge

Scroll down to yesterday's post for #PBdummy schedule and FAQs.

STEP 1: Pick your project
January 6-January 13

Consider the market, consider your strengths, then go with your gut: what idea makes you want to grab someone by the arm and make them listen to your pitch? What are you so excited about that you’re doodling images right now? What do you care enough about to spend the next six months refining?

Join #kidlitart on Thursday, January 6, at 9 pm EST, to discuss “Picking a picture book project you can live with.”

Come prepared to share tips on how you brainstorm new ideas; how you choose a winner; and how put your own spin on it to come up with the project only you could create.

For inspiration:

Caldecott winners, 1938-present

SCBWI Golden Kite winners, 1974-present
Note: Awards for picture book text were added in 1997.

Horn Book Fanfare list for 2010

Publishers Weekly Fall 2010 Children’s Announcements

New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2010

Struggling to find an idea?
Check out the series of posts hosted by Tara Lazar during the PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) Challenge (November, 2010), and the posts during last year’s NaPiBoWriWee (National Picture Book Writing Week), hosted by Paula Yoo.

Start building your resource library
Here are three that have excellent overviews on what makes an engaging picture book:

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books, by Uri Shulevitz

Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication, by Ann Whitford Paul

The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Childen, by Nancy Lamb

And . . . we’re off!

Have your super-fantastic, one-of-a-kind picture book idea ready to go by January 13, when we'll begin drafting the text.

Check back often for challenge updates. Leave questions/comments below, or DM @BonnieAdamson or @WendyMartinArt.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's here!

Welcome to the Kidlitart Picture Book Dummy Challenge!

Part I: Fine Print

What is the Dummy Challenge?
A 25-week online group challenge to create and submit a picture book dummy.
Start date: January 6
End date: June 30

Who can join?
Anyone! Though geared primarily toward author/illustrators, writers who are not artists can benefit from portions of the dummy exercise, and illustrators without an original manuscript can use the process to create a dummy portfolio piece.

Can I participate without attending kidlitart Twitter chats?
Yes, the challenge steps will be posted here on the blog, as will the transcripts of each chat, as usual--but we encourage you to take advantage of all avenues for joining in the discussion: leave comments here; drop by #kidlitart on Thursday nights; and check in with your Twitter colleagues any time via the challenge hashtag: #PBdummy.

Note: Don’t forget to pick up your official #PBdummy twibbon, designed by Diandra Mae.

Do I have to post my work online?
No! We will be discussing the steps in general terms. If you wish to receive feedback or critiques on specific ideas or artwork, you are free to exchange messages or post images with trusted partners in protected venues. DO NOT post original work in comments here: please be mindful of the nature of the internet and use caution when posting original work ANYWHERE.

What if I don’t want to create a picture book dummy? Will I be left out of #kidlitart until June?
Topics for the Thursday chats will follow the challenge schedule, but should be of interest to all children’s book illustrators and friends. We intend to cover the entire range of issues involved: from what makes an engaging picture book manuscript, through structuring a picture book, craft techniques, tips for scanning and presentation, all the way to researching submissions. We hope you will feel welcome to join in the chats as usual, whether or not you are participating in the challenge.

Are there any rules for the challenge?
Nope. The idea is to have a great time while accomplishing a goal. There are no formal sign-ups or check-ins required—but if you’ve ever participated in a similar challenge, you know the value of community: checking in regularly, encouraging others, allowing yourself to be held accountable to a schedule—all this will help you get the most from the experience.

Any prizes or rewards for participating?
This is a new venture for your trusty kidlitart organizers, so please bear with us when we say we’re not quite sure how this will evolve. For now, the dummy will be its own reward. We’re accumulating lots of information to help you navigate the process, and we’ve lined up some terrific chat guests to inspire you along the way. We promise to take note of any questions or suggestions you might have for future challenges and to let you know of any opportunities that arise from this current challenge.

Part II: Brass Tacks

What is a picture book dummy, anyway?
A picture book dummy is a facsimile of a printed book: text and images laid out on paper cut into pages which are then gathered and “bound” to approximate an actual book. A dummy can be extremely simple or very elaborately produced—but the defining characteristic is the page turn.

A physical dummy allows you to simulate the experience of reading a book. For the author/illustrator, a dummy aids in establishing and editing the visual context into a series of isolated page spreads viewed the way a reader will experience them. It can also be an important tool for exposing flaws in the pace of a manuscript or help to establish natural dramatic breaks in the story line.

Who should create a picture book dummy, and why?
There are three reasons to create a picture book dummy:

a) As mentioned above, a dummy is an important tool for structuring a picture book, and is a recommended exercise for polishing any manuscript. A writer who is not an illustrator can benefit from creating a simple dummy, but should NOT include it as part of the submission.

b) An illustrator who is not an author might consider creating a picture book dummy of a fairy tale or some other familiar text in the public domain, as a portfolio piece. A successful dummy will demonstrate that the illustrator understands how to structure a story within the constraints of the standard picture book format.

c) An author/illustrator should consider including a picture book dummy as part of the submission package for any original manuscript he or she wishes to illustrate. This will give the editor, art director or agent reviewing your submission the clearest idea of the viability of the project. For the purposes of this challenge, we will assume that this is the goal. If you are producing a dummy for any other reason, you may find that some of the challenge steps don’t apply to your project—but we hope they will be enlightening, nevertheless.

How do we break this down?
Here is the schedule as it will be presented during the challenge. Blog posts will introduce each step by providing key points to consider, resources, and chat topics for that phase.

Jan. 6-Jan. 13 (1 week): Pick your project

Jan. 13-Feb. 10 (4 weeks): Draft the story

Feb. 10-Feb. 24 (2 weeks): Develop the characters

Feb. 24-Mar. 10 (2 weeks): Storyboard text and art

Mar. 10-May 5 (8 weeks): Produce tight, full-size sketches

May 5-Jun. 2 (4 weeks): Produce final art of two spreads

Jun. 2-Jun. 16 (2 weeks): Comp the cover and assemble the dummy

Jun. 16-Jun. 23 (1 week): Research submissions; prepare dummy package

Jun. 23-Jun. 30 (1 week): Submit

Jun. 30: Wrap party!

That’s it! Nine easy steps to dummy success!

Ready to get started? Stay tuned: Step 1 posts on Wednesday, January 5—followed by the first chat of the new year on Thursday, January 6, at 9 pm EST.

See you there!