Welcome to Manic Network!

Here, you will find like-minded individuals who know how difficult it is to juggle not only creating the story, but illustrating it as well. When you as the writer are also the illustrator, you find a certain amount of freedom to draw what you want, what your inner-eye sees. But with that freedom comes the blind-sidedness of only one perspective, your own. As a group, we can offer that unique second perspective and help unleash a story's true potential. I hope you can learn from the members here as well as teach others a thing or two about the art of story-telling.

Dummybook How-to's

Step 1: Perfect your story. Rewrite it until you 
think you can't rewrite it anymore. (But don't be surprised if you have to rewrite it even after you finish your dummybook.)

Step 2: Divide your story up into pages. You have a 32 page storybook which is the norm, but you can only use 28 of those pages. There needs to be a careful balance of words on each page. You don't want two paragraphs on page 6 and one line on page 7. Be forewarned, you might have to rewrite during this process so that everything equals out.

Step 3: Decide your layout and book size.  Do you want a horizontal book (wider book) or a taller book. Remember that a taller book will have a nice big surface to work with if you want to do 2 page spreads. A horizontal book works well with traveling or journey illustrations as you can get a good idea of how far the characters are going, and their general direction. Try sketches out both ways to see which works best.

Step 4: Once you have all the pages the way you want them, take a piece of paper and draw 32 boxes on them. Cross off the first 3 and last 1. You can't use these. (I usually leave them out of the storyboard anyway.) Your book will usually start on page 4. (4-5 being facing pages) (sometimes you can start on 3 if you have to have one more page). Now line your words up with the boxes and start sketching what first comes into your mind when you read the words on the pages. This is your vision of the story. You can change it later if certain pics just don't work, remember this is just to get an idea of what you want. Once you have an inkling, you can start sketching out larger pictures. Would spot pictures be best or 2 page spreads?

Step 5: Start sketching the larger illustrations. For those that work traditionally, you need to probably go a little bigger than what will actually be the book size but you also want to proportion it correctly. You also want to keep in mind your margins. Some artists will draw an extra couple of inches of art around their general picture for margin space. Just don't put any important elements into the margins.

For digital artists, I have a setup for A3 and A4 size in the program I work and I usually add about an inch around the edges for margin space. I work in high resolution of about 300, but that adds to the size of the finished piece.

Step 6: Once you start drawing, keep in mind where the words will go. Don't put important elements where you think the words should be. Keep dark colors out of this area as well, unless your book is generally dark and you want to use a white font. You don't need to have all your illustrations complete for a dummybook. Most editors prefer you not complete it because they want to know you would change something if needed. (Usually once something is complete, artists tend to not want to change anything, so try to be helpful.) You only need two or three completed illustrations along with the black and white sketches. (The sketches don't need to be perfect.)

Step 7: Once all the sketches are done and 2-3 are complete (don't forget your cover page) and all the words are where you want them (cut and paste literally). You can form them into a dummy.

Step 8: There are several ways of doing dummies. No one way is correct. I personally like to send my completed pdf's to lulu so they can print the dummy for me. (you have to watch for color though. They don't always get it right and you will have to tweak it before it is correct.) Other ways are putting one physically together from copied pages glued back to back and then bound together into a book. Don't forget to put your blank pages in. That's where titles, copyright and publishing will go. You can go as fancy and imaginative as you want with homemade dummy. Laminate the pages, glue them to posterboard, bind them into a folder or use yarn, string, ribbon, etc. I've seen people use already bound empty books and then pasted their pages into them. I personally don't have a lot of time to make a fancy one, which is why I send mine to lulu.