Learning to Appreciate What We Can’t Do

As picture book writers, it’s obvious we love the genre’s blend of text and art.  But what can picture book writers do when we’re not also illustrators?  Learn to appreciate what we can’t do. I don’t mean bone-up on illustration and art so we can be nagging backseat illustrators.  Rather learn the process of illustration and how pictures work so we have a greater understanding and respect for what illustrators bring to our texts.  When we truly value what illustrators do our need to fret and second guess their contribution begins to fade away.

Two outstanding books on illustration and design are well worth several readings. Acclaimed picture book author/illustrator Molly Bang has created a direct and dynamic exploration of how pictures work. PICTURE THIS was written for adults and has been in print for twenty years.

Mark Gonyea explores many of the same basic elements in his lively book for children, A BOOK ABOUT DESIGN: COMPLICATED DOESN’T MAKE IT GOOD.

Next time we start to grumble that no one respects how much work goes into a picture text, let’s make sure we understand enough about illustration so we truly respect how much work goes into the art.

Next: Related & Recommended Websites and Blogs

Books Discussed

A BOOK ABOUT DESIGN: COMPLICATED DOESN’T MAKE IT GOOD by Mark Gonyea. Holt, 2005.

PICTURE THIS: HOW PICTURES WORK by Molly Bang. Chronicle, 2000 (1991).

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