Saturday, September 3, 2016

Storyboarding for Picture Book Writers

A picture book text can paint a picture or it can set the stage for a corresponding visual story. Sort of the difference between
… and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day…” (Where the Wild Things Are)
In the great green room there was a telephone …” (Goodnight Moon).
The first one paints a mood that the art alone can’t tell. The second one creates an image that accompanies the text. Both are good for the story they are telling, both create a visual without taking over for the artist.
The trick, as a text-only picture book creator, is to realize that you are a visual artist. Your text needs to create moods and images word by word, sentence by sentence, and it has to do it page by page and beginning to end.
One way to set yourself up for success in this area is to storyboard. Storyboarding your text will give you visual feedback on how your text works on each page. If you have a text-heavy page, you’ve either stepped into the artist’s area, or you have too many words, or your story may not be best suited as a picture book. You also need to be aware of your page turns.
For the rest of the article, please visit my website at:
And just because I'm not cool enough to be able to embed video in Wordpress yet, here's a short video resource on storyboarding:

Have a great weekend.


  1. So true. Good practical idea on how to do it in this post.
    Picture books done by writers who illustrate as well have a different feel, and their wording, when read without seeing the art, feels like a concerto with one half missing. We who write words only don't have the luxury to allow this.

    1. Thanks. And so true. How I wish I could illustrate as well.

  2. Great advice. I haven't written a picture book in years.