Getting to know your Picture book layout


O.k, so I promised to share some of the stuff I’d learnt at Yasmeen Ismail’s illustration workshop didn’t I? Well, I like to keep my promises, and with a bit of my own experience thrown in the mix, this one’s for you.

Let’s do this….

Get to know your pages

A picture book should be-depending on the length of your story- between 16-32 pages, if it’s any longer maybe re-think and edit that baby down.

Get to know what makes your heart beat hard!

Research, look at loads of other books and question why you like some more than others? Why does a particular book blow your mind and others are just meh! Is it the use of colour? The layout? Use this knowledge to fuel your own work. 

 Get to know your content

As we know picture books generally have very few words, but that’s not to say they are any less important, in many ways they are more important, because they have to find a way of telling a story in a very short space of time. Deciding how to tell that story is up to you. We did an exercise in the workshop, whereby we were given a piece of text and asked to arrange the text into pictures. Story boarding is key here, do as many sketches as you need to until satisfied, plan, plan, plan. 

It doesn’t need to be intricate, but it does need to tell a story with all the details you wish to portray.

Getting to know your layout

Ask yourself, will this illustration and text be best as a…. 

Double page spread

Vigrette’s or Spot illustrations

Or Single page

Think about the flow between the pages, as well as marrying the words and pictures together.

Get to know your gutter

Gathering books

The gutter is where the seam of the book binds together, remember that it’s there other wise you could lose some vital information you wish your reader to see!

Get to know your colours

It’s for kids peeps, they like shiny colourful things, so if you’re not using COLOUR begin to drip feed it into your drawing habits.

Get to know your style

By drawing, then drawing some more. Sorry no magic bean news there. Ismail suggests that you try to draw your family or friends kids, to practice drawing the human form for proportions, actions, and gestures.

She also recommends doing some life drawing.

Get to know your reader

Happy family animations a2z

It’s all about the Kids, and if you get the parents interested even better, but the picture book audience is a child friendly zone so pitch it that way.


And finally…

Enjoy the process, the progress, and of course the Peutiful p-p-pictures you come up with!!!!

Follow, Share, Like

& I…

Hope this helps, if you have any picture book tips you’d like to share with other budding writers, write in the comments box below, I’m sure we’d all love to hear from you!



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