Saturday, 25 April 2015

Who's Trip-Tripping Across My Bridge? - by Susan Price

I'm seem to be all about the picture books and fairy tales these
The tiger spots the chapati
days.

          My last post was about using CreateSpace's cover creator, with my younger brother's drawings as an example. He and I are working on re-issuing my 'Runaway Chapati' as a self-published book.
          He and his wife came to my house over Easter, bringing the large scale drawings he's done. They were beautiful. Full of movement. I'm keenly looking forward to seeing the finished book. The text is going to be embedded in the pictures, so that picture and text are saved as one image.
          Then the older brother suddenly upped and volunteered his illustrations for 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff.' He knows it's always been a favourite of mine.
          I was all for it.
          I wrote out a script, but it was quickly abandoned as being too long. I told Andrew to tell the story in his pictures, and I would build a text around it - as, with picture-books, the illustrations are at least as important as the text, if not more so.
          We're trying to fit the story into the traditional picture book format of thirty-two pages, and you know what? It's really hard.
           Neither of us was guilty of thinking that it would be easy because it was 'only a picture book for small children.' We both of us want to do our best, as we would with any other project.


          In less than a month, we've gone through about three versions. Andrew set up a large piece of hard-board as a story-board. He makes roughs of the pages and sticks them on the board, so we can see what the book will look like.
          I took to writing the words that might go with the picture on slips of paper and sticking them to the pictures with bluetak. I responded to the images, and Andrew responded to the words.
           We move the images around, and trim and rearrange the words - eventually we'll reach a version which we both like. But anybody who thinks designing and writing a picture book is easy should try it.


          I'm impressed by the page designs Andrew has come up with, and the way he tells the story with comic-book frames on the page. I like his style, and the expressiveness he brings to his characters. I've tried to match his inventiveness by making the words dance and chant.
          I'm enjoying seeing the story come together in my living-room - but how are we going to publish?
          We intend to start with CreateSpace, to produce a paperback. We'll need to experiment. So far, I've only produced books that were mainly text with a few illustrations. There, you download a formatted CreateSpace file, and load the text into it.
          If we try to do that with a picture intended to spread across two pages, the formatting will split the picture in two as it divides it into two pages.
          We'll have to experiment. I think we'll have to save the artwork as a PDF, and load that up into a blank CreateSpace file, and see what happens.
          There are a great many other things to think about - but we'll trip-trip across that bridge when we come to it.

7 comments:

Mari Biella said...

Best of luck with this! I think it must be incredibly difficult to create a picture book like this. If you want to create an ebook version, I've heard that Kindlegen (downloadable free) is pretty good, though I've never tried it myself.

Susan Price said...

Thanks Mari! We'll check it out.

Dennis Hamley said...

Sue, your experiments with Createspace are both fascinating and awesome!

Mari Biella said...

There's also an Amazon Kids Book Creator that might be useful: https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1002979921.

Bill Kirton said...

I'd echo what Dennis said. The idea of working towards a book with illustrations and text feeding off one another sounds very exciting. Please keep us informed about progress.

Lydia Bennet said...

exciting indeed, the best of luck with this i'm sure it will be fabulous (literally!) so many ways to publish and share work. Storyboarding is fun, I've done it for my kinetic poetry so it can be animated.

Sandra Horn said...

I love working this way! There was little chance when I was with one of the 'big' publishers - they tended to keep the author and illustrator apart fro some odd reason, but it's been one of the huge joys of self-publishing. Please keep us up to date - it sounds like a great project.