I’ve started laying out the thumbnail panels for my latest children’s book, Miranda and the Men from Mars. Since my last children’s book, I’ve made realizations on things I could have done better or more efficiently. One of these is to spend more time on the pre-production work, setting up character sheets, drawing out environments, refining the written material until I get dizzy, and, of course, spend more time getting stronger and more interesting compositions for my thumbnail panels. The compositions I came up with for my last book weren’t bad, I just felt some could have used more interesting angles. My favorite panel from the last book involved an over the head shot so I am striving to get to that happy place more in this new book.
Here are the first four panels in which Miranda argues with her sister, is awakened by noise from outside, and discovers a damaged Martian robot named BOB. You might notice the large white areas that have been erased in each panel. Once I’ve completed the initial thumbnail, I insert it into InDesign and place the text. Sometimes I need to move things around or erase more area to accomodate the writing. This is one of the most challenging parts of the process. Once the foundation is in there, I find it much easier to hammer away at the refinement of the details.