I LOVE THE STORYBOARDclick on image to see full size

It is a time to doodle and imagine words as a book. As author-illustrator I move between the two worlds letting pictures inform words until I arrive at a story. As an illustrator, I look for a way to show something that the words cannot. Dan Yaccarino/author/illustrator says, “The images in a picture book are the driving forces that tell the story. The words tell only what the pictures can’t.”

To begin, I read the manuscript, and draw a line after each scene where I feel a breath or a pause, breaking the text into little chunks of action. Something should HAPPEN on each spread. Telling the story with stick figures, gestures and scenes, allows the thumbnail drawings to show me the shape of the story. Then I balance the text from one page to the next, not too much or not too little depending on the pace of the story.

Here is one of the first storyboards for Aurora, A Tale of the Northern Lights. I used a horizontal layout to create the vast picture space of the wide open tundra. I fell in love with double spreads and full bleed as a way to further expand that picture plane.

Quilt of Dreams storyboard

Quilt of Dreams revised storyboard1

Quilt of Dreams storyboard revised2

Kayak Girl storyboard

Willawaw storyboard


The page turning phase is where I problem-solve, and see how the storyboard actually works as a book dummy. I expand the thumbnails into about a quarter size of the finished book, expand on the compositions, check for imagery that might fall into the gutter, and let the details and continuity evolve.

  see the book dummy for Coyote In Love

 see the book dummy for Kayak Girl, written by Monica Devine