“Dummy Day Camp!” How would I explain these words to anyone who’d read my sign?
Let me try. . .
Troy Cummings’ presentation at the SCBWI-Indiana 2017 Summer Retreat where he walked us through the revisions he undertook with his new picture book, CAN I BE YOUR DOG? (to be published by Random House: March 2018). His website states it is a “heart-tugging dog adoption story told through a series of letters dropped in the neighbor’s mailboxes—a stray dog searches for a place to call home.”
In his session, Troy listed three sets of tools we could use to create our books: words, pictures, and designs. He described how he begins with a draft followed by a sketch, and then he creates a dummy—a rough version of the graphic design. Other considerations dealt with the pacing of the story such as silent spreads, typography, the physical size/shape/feel of the book, and page turns to highlight dramatic events.
Troy encouraged us to try making a dummy book, to find the page turns in our story, and not to worry about color or the level of our artistic skills. Also, we should think about the voice of the book itself and what that’ll look like. In other words—think about every part of the book from cover to cover.
|Nick Adkins, Ashley Adkins, Beth McBride, |
Paulette Sharkey, & Julie Richardson
Our Dummy Day Camp started with introductions followed by a presentation by author/illustrator Nick Adkins who brought examples of his own sketches, dummy books, self-published books, and his picture book favorites. We continued our conversations over lunch, and afterwards we each found an area to work individually for the next two hours. At the end of our five-hour session, each author presented their finished products with feedback from the group.
|Jennifer Burd, winner of|
the SCBWI-MI 2017
A delightful day of creativity. It was a much needed boost to spend time with real people pursuing the same goal, and such fun to hear first-hand what others are working on. I enjoyed every minute of it.
As for me, I learned valuable lessons by designing thumbnail sketches on a chart that I then used to create my dummy book. Misplaced or missing page turns and pacing issues became obvious—much more so than on my Word document. Extraneous words popped out at me. But it wasn’t all glaring mistakes—I had fun drawing cats galore! More importantly, I spent a wonderful day with my fellow writers!
Coming up on the Mitten Blog: Promoting backlist titles, researching and writing a middle grade historical novel, and more about our upcoming mentorship programs and the 4 Out The Door Illustrator Postcard Challenge. But first, Charlie Barshaw will shine the spotlight on one of our SCBWI-MI members for our quarterly Writer Spotlight feature. Who will it be? Come back next Friday to see!
Follow the fun on our brand new SCBWI-MI Instagram page! Tag your postcards #4outthedoor. We can't wait to share them.