Welcome to class,
I'm Romica Spiegl-Jones, an Austrian illustrator and designer based in Manchester (UK). The aim of this class is to show you my process and help you to get ideas for your own picture book spread. Double page spreads are an integral part of any children's book portfolio pitch. Initially intended only for my youtube-channel, I adapted the videos and added prompts to benefit the Arbington community of aspiring children's book illustrators.
How does it work?
After showing you my tools, planning process, and a speed drawing, I will give you prompts to create your own story and double page spread. The real work starts with your project. By following the steps outlined in the Class Project you will create a finished double page spread for your portfolio from idea to finish.
Skill level: Intermediate
Skills needed: Composition, Character Development, Storytelling
Please find a list of recommended resources to touch up your skills here
How can I get the most out of this class?
As with anything in life: the more you put into this, the more you will get out of it. If you are looking for a quick fix and videos doing the work for you, this class is not what you are looking for. However, if you believe in hard work, learning, and continuous development, this class is a great starting point for your career as children's book illustrator.
I believe in you and really look forward to seeing your ideas,
Now that you picked a prompt for each of the sections let's get started.
These steps will take time, so come back and update your project each time you made a step forward. You will only make progress towards your dreams if you do the work, so do the work :)
PS: Leave as little or as much time between these steps as you need. Sometimes I'm in a flow and get a lot done, but most often it takes hours or several days between idea and final image. Be gentle with yourself. With passion and hard work you will get there :)
- Start NOW: Think a little bit about your story. Create a quick, rough sketch (e.g. character, a scene, piece of clothing, anything). No hesitation. Start your project: write one sentence what the story is about and post your sketch.
- Celebrate, this was the first important step! Give yourself some credit. Prepare a (cheap) sketchbook and a pencil. No pressure. They are just ready for when ideas come.
- A few minutes/hours/days later: Think more deeply of who those characters are, where they are from, what are they good/bad at, what are their quirks? Where do they come from, where do they go? What are they wearing? What's going on? Reflect about this for a while. You can do other stuff in the meanwhile. Great ideas come at surprising moments. True story: I have my best ideas in the bathroom.
- Over the next few minutes/hours/days: jot down ideas, create as messy and loose sketches as you like to create this world you are envisioning for your story. Great things take time. Start to develop your characters and things that are in this world.
- Now it's time for your spread's birth: think of a scene in your story you would like to show (you can use one of the mood-prompts if you need ideas). Quickly thumbnail some ideas. Don't get too attached or detailed. Remember I created a very rough sketch (and the one I showed is just one of many).
- Give your little babies (sketches) some time. Then pick one that you would like to develop further. Think of the size of your final book. How big will the final spread be? Then create your sketch at the right dimensions (ratio). You can do what I did and divide the dimensions by 2 or 4 to work smaller.
- Refine lines, add details and check composition. You can do this in any way you like. If you work traditionally it can help to do what I did with printing out your small sketch and drawing over it for later tracing.
- If you are happy create the final outlines (at correct final size) and add colours. Share some in progress pictures. It really shows how far you've come.
- Share your final spread (with watermark if you want to protect it) and add it to your portfolio (e.g. on your website, instagram, behance, etc. wherever you showcase your work)
- Breathe. You've done an incredible job.
- If you are super serious about becoming a children's book illustrator make sure to check out the resource document where I share what really moved my career forward.
Invest into your career. Take care of yourself. And know that you are unique and only you can contribute this uniqueness to the world.
lots of love,