What would your tips and tricks be for anyone who hasn’t yet made a children’s book?
"If you’re not an illustrator, find your favorite examples of art styles and collect them so you can present them to an illustrator. Show them what you like and tell them why.
If you are an artist illustrating a children's book with Blurb, download the templates, print them out, and start laying out your story. Don't just do one layout for any single page—change the view. Do very tight, up-close scenes and follow them up with panoramic scenes. Change the view of the scene from page to page to increase the movement and drama. Think like a fly on the wall. What would they see if they were looking down on the scene?"
How do you recommend developing a character in a children’s book?
"When creating a character, draw it from several angles and with different expressions. Before you decide on your character, it's important to visualize what they look like in as many situations as possible. Use a prop like a hat or a funny hairdo or glasses to make them recognizable and memorable from scene to scene.
Draw or paint traditionally and have a good scanner. Also, use rough drawings as soon as possible in the process of laying out your book. Scan them in and experiment. If you don't have a scanner, take pictures of your roughs. Make them black and white so you focus on the characters and the composition of the scenes, including lights and darks.
If you are designing the book, use a very simple font. Let the story and the pictures be stars of your story. Because there are so many choices of fonts, it is tempting to give way to much attention to picking one that "feels right" or "looks like the character." I can't emphasize it enough—do not over-design your book."
Do you have any other books in the works?
"I have two projects that would be perfect for Blurb. I’m an identical twin and have twin granddaughters under the age of two, so I have lots of story ideas that involve twins. I have an outline and I know what I want them to look like. The other project is much more serious and involves a mystery. It's a true story I worked on several years ago involving a cold case crime. It was published in the Tampa Bay Times and had a huge response and generated lots of curiosity. I think it will make a very interesting tale for young people as a graphic novel."