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How Gurple And Preen Was Created Part 4

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5

PART 4: How One Of The Illustrations Changed Over Revisions

With help from her friends at Simon & Schuster (including from the author in later stages) as well as working on her own, Debbie went through many revisions of her illustrations for Gurple and Preen. Just before she thought was nearly finished, Debbie found out she needed to start from scratch again (!!). In the end, though, she was SUPER happy with how everything turned out, and knew all the hard work had been worth it.

The following is an example of how a page in Linda Sue Park’s manuscript evolved into Debbie’s final illustration. Please note this description doesn’t include all the work Debbie in figuring out the crayon photography, textures, etc! See Part 3 for that info.

First, Debbie read the mss over and over again, making lots of notes. Here are some of the notes she made for the first page spread in Linda Sue’s mss:

Debbie brainstormed some very rough layout ideas for the illustration in the first spread. She goes through this for every spread, so she doesn’t get lazy and settle for the first visual idea that comes into her head. If you’d like to use Debbie’s brainstorming picture book templates, you can download them for free from her Creating Picture Books resource or Free Print-Ready Resource.

Debbie also takes the visual solutions she likes the best from each brainstorming page and puts it all together into a thumbnail template (sometimes she works on these at the same time!). Again, she keeps the sketches VERY rough so she doesn’t get too attached to any particular illustration. At this stage, she’s mainly checking for overall flow, page turns, pacing:

When Debbie is happy with the overall flow, then she starts rough sketches for each page spread. She hasn’t yet shown her art director anything yet, except for the character sketches.

Debbie often goes through many versions of a page spread (sometimes as many as 40 versions of just one page spread!). Here are just a few that she went through for the first page spread in GURPLE AND PREEN:

And here’s the final version: