Author/illustrators and Shades of Grey: making a ‘book dummy’ for your big project

Author/illustrators and Shades of Grey: making a 'book dummy' for your big project

So after planning and conceptualizing and researching what I actually have to do to submit Luminè as an author/illustrator, I finally have discovered what I actually have to do to get this thing off the ground: I have to do what picture book illustrators do when trying to get their work published; make a ‘book dummy’.

What the heck is that? Basically, it’s a rough layout of the book, with text and images together. Sounds like a no-brainer? Not really. Read on.

In the case of a picture book for wee ones, it would be necessary to do the whole book. However: this is where I diverge. Luminè is a Middle-Grade reader, or MG for short. It has many many pictures and lots of text. Therefore, it would be unreasonable to expect a whole book, since the agent or art director wouldn’t really need or have time to look at the whole thing.

Therefore, in the case of my book, my submissions package would contain a polished ‘chapter 1’ with text images and appropriate typesetting to show those who see my work that my work looks good in print and alongside text. That is important too.

Since I wouldn’t be illustrating the whole book (yet, of course, but I won’t stop working while shopping the book around!) I would also include character concepts and studies. This way, the agent or art director could see that I could draw a variety of characters and had a consistent style. For my book, it would be necessary to showcase some of the more stylish and bizarre heroes and villains. These I have been working on and have already.

The sketch above is officially a teaser WIP of the wrap illustration for chapter 1. It’s really happening guys.

Throughout this process, I may only be able to show you glimpses of what I am working on, but I will still update the Tumblr lots to keep me sketching and keep my social presence active!

When working on big projects, it is important to keep sketching, so you keep the ideas flowing and your work improving. It can be really easy to fall into a pattern of only ‘drawing for final’. Not all of my sketches are spot-on in terms of anatomy or proportion. That’s fine! Some days, I feel more inclined to create a mood, while other days I seek to nail a pose.

I really forced myself to press on today. I was having one of those troublesome wacky days full of other non-art related conflicts and didn’t feel like drawing.

So I told myself: ‘If I start the book today and get this picture right, I’ll feel really good because I would have made today a great one instead of a bad one.’
I cracked open the anatomy books, got some reference and got started.
I’m pleased so far, and excited to draw the rest of Lena’s messy room.

I hope this helps clear up confusion for those people who really want to draw and write as well.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a world to make…

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