Calgary author, Simon Rose, and I have teamed up to do some work creative work on spec.

When Simon's not busy writing his next novel, and I'm not working on illustrations for my next children's picture book, we've been transforming Simon's manuscripts into book dummies -- or miniature picture books -- that we can then approach potential publishers with.

Our first foray was with a manuscript about a renaissance dragon -- a dragon who likes the finer things in life. We broke the copy up into pages, and I created draft images to accompany those pages. It's an interesting exercise, as you realize along the way what needs to be illustrated, what DOESN'T need to be illustrated and what copy is superfluous.

Here's the draft cover -- notice that everything's done in black & white, and very loosely rendered... the interior images are likewise. I scan all the images, and set the text in Photoshop.

The beauty of creating a book dummy or a mock-up, is that you get an excellent feeling for the story's pacing and flow -- and most importantly, if the story is compelling enough to get readers to turn to the next page.

Another reason I like to make book dummies is that it makes a nice little package to hand over to a kid to critique-- whereas a sheet of thumbnails needs some explanation.

Our next project is about another fictional creature-- a little bigfoot -- who befriends a member of a different species. But more on that later...!

***Read more about Simon on his blog, or check out his site at***


Really cute books about cats and dogs.
Christine Tripp said…
Val, I do hope you are getting paid for your spec work on the dummy.
Unknown said…
I really enjoy how you describe your process and how it needs to work. Thanks so much!

Popular Posts