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How a Picture Book Is Born

Over at the Muddy Colors blog, children’s book author and illustrator Adam Rex shared his creative process behind Chu’s Day–his picture book collaboration with Neil Gaiman.

The post includes a brief glimpse of Gaiman’s script for their next children’s book project, but we also get priceless shots of storyboards and character sketches from the current book. Here’s an excerpt from the essay:

In a novel you can just throw a bunch of blanks at the end to round out another eight pages if you have to, but with a picture book you need to be more precise. Add to this that nearly all picture books are either 32 or 40 pages long, and it gets even more restrictive. Few PBs are more than 40 pages. None are less than 32 (board books don’t count). I draw 32 or 40 or whatever little boxes on a single page of my sketchbook and start filling them in. I only have the most rudimentary notion what each page is going to look like, but this is where I usually discover the ideas that will make this my book as opposed to a book that was merely illustrated by me. Once I have all my pandas in a row I probably sketch character designs.

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