I hope this helps build your library!
Are there any picture books you think adults will enjoy? Let me know in the comments!
Setting goals is like creating a road map to your destination.
Your journey is from one end of a picture book to the other.
Set SMART Goals
In this context, setting SMART goals looks something like below.
Set Your Milestones
Here are mine:
I visualize this process like a funnel. For every 50 ideas, you may fall in love with 20. 10 of those may develop into a story. Of the 10 that are developed enough to write, you may settle into 5. Of those, you may only show 3 to your critique group.
Make each of these goals attainable by preparing the tools you need to complete them before hand. For example, you can use my free Picture Book Writing Cheat Sheet to evaluate your drafts.
Set a Schedule for Your Milestones
For example, you may participate in Tara Lazar’s Story Storm. You will set a goal to write down 1 idea for every day in January. There is daily inspiration from a collection of creators and if you choose to check in every day then there is added accountability.
Storystorm is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based.
Set Up a Backup Plan
For when things don't go the way you’ve planned, which inevitably they don't.
What happens if you can't come up with an idea on January 15th? Maybe you were stressed, busy with work, or home life.
When I am feeling extra hyped or I have spare time, I come up with multiple ideas and put them in the bank. That way I do not feel bad when things happen.
Set Yourself Up For Success
When you accomplish a goal: celebrate! When things don't work out, go back and take a closet look at what happened.
When revising your goals look for micro-adjustments that you can make throughout your day to make a goal more attainable. Often, little changes can make a big difference.
In Picture Books, the text and illustrations will have varying degrees of responsibility.
Wordless Picture Books rely entirely on the illustrations to carry the story.
Other books, like BJ Novak’s The Book With No Pictures, rely entirely on text.
Most picture books marry the two extremes and use both vehicles to appeal to all the senses of the adult and child audiences.
Often, a writer creates a story with text and then publishers find an illustrator who can tell the same story with pictures.
“I don't think of myself as an illustrator. I think of myself as a cartoonist. I write the story with pictures - I don't illustrate the story with the pictures.” -Chris Ware
But the role of the illustrator is not simply to elaborate.
“When you make illustrations, you're supposed to have a subtext; you're not just communicating words - you're actually adding another story altogether.” -Peggy Rachmaninov
Storytelling is multidisciplinary.
Illustration and text are only two vehicles used to tell a story. There is also:
Exploring different vehicles to tell your story may help you flesh it out completely, or you may land on a vehicle that suits the story you are trying to tell better than others.
A Universal Message
Freedom to Tell the Story in Different Ways
All Other Storytelling Guidelines Apply
What Makes a Good Wordless Picture Book?
Shawna J. C. Tenney is an author and illustrator with a passion for picture books. Shawna graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration from Brigham Young University and loves telling stories through color, composition, and whimsical characters. She is the author and illustrator of Brunhilda's Backwards Day.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?