Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Illustrator’s Process - Making a Picture Book Dummy, Part 2

Today my sister Barbara continues her description of dummy making!

This simpler-than-Coptic-stitch, more-complex-than-fold-and-staple picture book dummy is modeled after the sturdier board book. I now have a greater respect for the people who write how-to instructions. It’s not easy to be clear!

To repeat, this dummy is low-tech, aside from the copy machine. For my version you’ll need copier, copy paper and card stock plus a sheet or two of glossy color-photo-type paper (all 8 ½" x 11"), bone folder (to make sharp folds), glue stick, ruler and scissors. And the art/text for your dummy. You’ll end up with a durable book that opens out roughly flat and is about 4 ½” wide by 5 ½” tall (which you could convert to horizontal layout 5 ½” wide by 4 ½” tall).

Once you’ve done your page breaks, left room for front and back matter, planned the flow of your illustrations, and done your drawings, place each page’s drawing (and text?) on 8 ½" x 11" paper. Then:

  1. Copy each page, reducing by 50%.
  2. Lay out copies, 4 to a sheet, and re-copy on card stock. Remember, when you open a book page 1 is on the right, so copy your drawings/text in this order:
    • Page 0 opposite Page 1
    • Page 2 opposite Page 3, etc. until you get to....
    • Page 32 opposite blank page
  3. Cut pages in half horizontally (leaving Page 0 opposite Page 1 etc.)
  4. Fold each of these paired pages in half vertically – crisply! with a bone folder, if you have one.
  5. Now you begin to assemble. Get out the glue, and glue the back of page 1 to the back of page 2, the back of page 3 to the back of page 4, etc.
    • Make sure folds are crisp!
    • Match up edges carefully.
    • Make sure the stack of pages grows vertically and doesn’t veer off at an angle
    • I usually do 4-5 sheets at a time to make mini-blocks, and then join the blocks together (check the page order!) It’s easier to prevent skewing the alignment this way.
  6. Once the numbered pages are assembled, add blank pages front and back to make end papers.
  7. Stabilize/reinforce the spine
    • Cut a 1 ½” x 5 ½” strip of paper (preferably Tyvek; that’s what those soft Fed-Ex envelopes are made of -- flexible but tough!)
    • Wrap and glue the paper/Tyvek strip around the folded spine
      • overlap onto front and back of book block
      • don’t overlap top/bottom edges – if strip stretches, trim excess top and bottom
OK, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m tired! Want to finish this tomorrow?

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