After approving the boy and the dog character design, we move to something called ‘storyboard.’ Although this is a new term for me, it is quite standard for those operating in the space of illustrations and animation.
I have now learned that the storyboard is the layout of the book drawn in rough sketches. It looks a bit like a comic strip. After all the work done to get the characters drawn over the last few weeks, I am initially startled to see stick figures representing the main characters!
The goal is to match the illustrations with the text and be sure the pictures match the author’s vision. This step is an essential checkpoint as even though I have a particular image in my head of the illustrations and flow of the book, there are times I have not made it clear to the illustrator. I did send some initial illustrator comments [in brackets to differentiate from the manuscript] when I submitted my story. Still, I realize now that adding more detail would have been helpful. One of the most significant modifications in this round is the ship. I was picturing a barge that carries materials to and from the North Shore. The illustration in this storyboard leans more toward a speedboat.
Forming comments takes quite a bit of time. I toggle between reviewing the manuscript, viewing the storyboard illustrations, and typing comments into Basecamp. Although time-consuming, this step forces me to think through each scene, describe what I want to see and communicate that to the illustrator. Some of the scenes already match my vision, though a few require dramatic changes.
The most satisfying part of this milestone is that I am starting to see the book take shape. The page-to-page flow of the story is evident. If I had a way to view the text under each drawing, it would be even easier to edit and make comments.
Main tasks for this step
- Review the 15 scenes of storyboard
- Match them scene by scene with the manuscript and to see how they match my vision and narrative for the story
- Develop comments on how the illustrations should be modified