i always begin the illustrations for a picture book with lots and lots of sketches – called thumbnail sketches. These are quick sketches that help me sort out the very basics of what I want to include in a scene. I’m not concerned at this point with how good the drawing is or whether the characters look like themselves. The key is to get the drawing down quickly and see if it works overall in terms of shapes on the page and whether the point of view is an interesting one… and different from the page before. It makes for a more interesting picture book if the point of view changes from one illustration to the next (i.e. have some close-ups, some far away shots and some at the middle distance)and this all begins with the thumbnail sketches!
In 2013, I had the idea of videotaping the creation of my next picture book. When I shared this idea with PJ Library, they thought it was a great idea. And then they asked the obvious question… where’s your story? Well, I hadn’t given much thought to that part… after all there were a million other things to figure out… like what equipment should I buy to film the process? What editing program should I use? Should I use an external microphone? What about lighting?
But they did have a good point. So I rummaged around in my drawers, looking for a story that might work. I found a story that I had written years before called Rachel and the Silver Menorah. Hmmm, I thought. This could work. So I changed Rachel to Yitzi, cleaned it up a bit and then sent the story to PJ Library. They really liked it…. and so my video diary project now had a story!
Here is the first video clip…