Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Illustrator’s Process - Making a Picture Book Dummy, Part 1

Today and tomorrow my guest is my sister, Barbara, who also happens to be my critique partner and tech support. She is also an avid bookbinder who has utilized a couple of binding methods for dummies I’ve created over the last few years. She has agreed to describe her process for one of them.

There are many, many ways to assemble a book dummy, from the professionally hard-cover-bound to the simple fold-and-staple. I’ve sort of settled on a mid-range version.

One day while Diane toured the children’s book section at Vroman’s I found myself examining a rack of board books. Since my own writing has been geared to the younger ‘reader’ I thought I’d check out board book structure, something like the way Diane analyzes picture books. Anyway, I counted the ‘boards’ in a couple of books and noticed that the boards are glued to one another back-to-back and then….wow, look at that neat cover assembly.

You see, at present my real book passion is book making. Hand making books. Sewing, cutting, pasting. And it turns out board book assembly solves the problem of page order. No more complex fold and gather type layouts for copying at Kinko’s. No more questions like “If page 32 is photocopied on the left and page 1 is on the right, what page do you put opposite page 14?” so that when they’re folded in together they read 1-2-3 ….. 30-31-32. My earlier dummy-making had been open-spine Coptic stitch multiple-signature …… you get the idea. This is lots simpler.

While studying board books led to quicker dummy making, it turns out that writing clear (to anyone but myself) directions for making said dummy is a bit hard. So give me a little more time to work on it and check back tomorrow for the ‘how-to’.

It’s 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), a bone folder (to make sharp folds), glue stick, ruler and scissors. And pencil.  And the art/text for your dummy.

More tomorrow.

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