IF YOU take the time to write a picture book, the last thing you want is for the reader to put the book down before they’ve finished it. You want them to keep turning the pages. So it’s important what we decide to put on each page.
WE OFTEN call any book with illustrations a picture book, but there are really 2 types of illustrated books:
- Story books: Where the text tells the whole story and can be read without illustrations
- True picture books: where the pictures and words combine to tell the story.
So you need to know which type of illustrated book you’ve written as this will determine the book’s length and how the story is laid out on the pages.
Next we need to think about how picture books are constructed.
- Most picture books are 32 pages and there’s a reason why.
- Picture books are made from SIGNATURES-not the kind where we write our name. In printing a signature is: a group of pages that are printed on both sides of a sheet of paper. The paper is then folded, cut and trimmed down to the finished page size. So pages are laid out and printed on large sheet which is cut in half (so you have 4 sides) then cut in half again (8 sides) and folded so you have 16 pages. Most picture books have 2 of these.
So you have 32 pages, but some of these may be used for a title page, dedication, copyright material. So 28 pages for your story.
With 28 pages it will be important to plan how the words will fit into those pages. Is there room in the story for rich illustrations that add to the experience and to the story?
Next week let’s look at story boards and book dummies as a way to plan your story.