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Follow me on a journey through the making of my book dummy for The Little Red Hen.


How do you thresh wheat?

What does Red Hen like to do?

How do Medieval ovens work? 

How many kinds of wheat exist?

Cottages? Neighbors? 

What color is Red Hen’s magic?

  • Read transcript over and over...and over.

  • Write my own character descriptions

  • List all the associations I have with the setting and topic

  • If I’m paginating, experiment with page breaks.

  • Ask lots of questions!

  • Drawing in my sketchbook only!

  • Following my lists from the research stage

  • Create fitting character shapes and props to support the story

  • Imagine the character moving and speaking outside of the written story, to really get to know them

  • Treat props/accessories or houses/settings as extensions of the characters themselves 

  • A crucial step for planning a book!

  • Visually pace the story

  • Test page composition with basic shapes and values, planning for page turns, action paths, and eye flow. 

  • Plan for presentation consistency (vignette, full page, full spread) alternating appropriately for the story 

  • Where the magic begins... 

  • I draw these in full-size.

  • This is where I do most of the drawing for the book, I will paint the remainder

  • I constantly reference my character dev. pages so I can keep my characters and their accoutrements consistent

  • My tools for creating a focal point and eye flow: contrast (value) and saturation (color intensity). 

  • I push drama with saturated, darker colors in the foreground and desaturated, lighter colors in the background. 

  • Mood/emotion comes into play with the overall color story (how the colors shift throughout the book)  

  • I create visual interest and a page-turn effect by making colors on the left slightly cooler and colors on the right slightly warmer. 

  • I start by blowing up my color test and cleaning up my edges. This is not just local color, I include cast shadows and some occlusion shadows.

  • Then I create an overpaint layer to clean up the edges and add surface texture. 

  • Then I create layers and layers of different blending modes to push the lighting and values to add drama. 


Nope! Not the end!


Books go through revision after revision after revision in all of these stages! I'm showing my book dummy to critique groups, to my friends, to my husband, to my cat and getting feedback to incorporate into better and better versions. Until a book is complete, it's a living organism that's ever-transforming. 

I'm team-oriented, and I love this process!

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Okay, now it's the end. 

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