Saturday, October 1, 2016

Delightful Director Dr. Mira Reisberg -- and a Prize!

Dr. Mira Reisberg creates some of the best webinars I have ever seen. I learn so much from each and every one. I'm always hearing about the fantastic Children's Book Academy. Every single person I've talk to who has taken the CBA's classes loves them! This is why I asked her to join the first Smart Dummies last year. I am glad that Mira is able to be with us for another year. Mira is the Director of the Children's Book Academy. For more information on the wonderful courses offered at the Academy go here: childrensbookacademy.com

Mira, Mark Mitchell, Traci Van Wagoner and I got together for a Smart Dummies hangout last week. If you missed the webinar then check out the replay here: http://howtobeachildrensbookillustrator.com/Smarter-dummies Mira was so lovely to talk to and I am so lucky that she was able to attend.

Today Mira is giving some great tips for dummy composition complete with a worksheet so that you can have your dummy in order!

Be sure to check the bottom of this post for a wonderful prize from Mira!

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Seven Cool Composition Secrets for Your Dummy


Hi everyone, I’m excited to be sharing seven tips about composition for your dummy. First of all, lay out all of your spreads either on the floor or a wall (if they’re digital, print them out) before assembling, then look for these:


1. Is there variety from spread to spread to keep it surprising and exciting? Do you play with point of view and perspective—far away to give us a sense of place, close up to care about your characters. Moving the “camera” from above to below to front-on to side view? Are some compositions busy and others sparse and simple?



2. Do a bunch of the images face right to guide the viewer to turn the page? Can you have a visual through line like a landscape line that flows from page to page?


3. Have you made sure that nothing important like a face, a hand, a figure, text etc. is close to the gutter where it will get distorted and part of it will get lost? The same thing goes for having anything important close to the edges of the page.





4. Have you played with dramatic tension and visual pacing by starting small and getting bigger as the child turns the pages like Maurice Sendak famously does this in Where the Wild Things Are? What about using color for pacing like Brian Selznik does in When Marian Sang?


5. Do you have exciting underlying shapes in your compositions like diagonals, spirals, triangles, etc. A square composition with primarily straight horizontals and verticals is the most static and least exciting composition. Drawing over a Leonardo DaVinci print to trace those forms is a great way to learn about this.


6. Is your type/font complimentary to your images with plenty of space around it and large enough for young eyes? Make sure it’s not too frilly or busy and that it’s at least 1” from the edges of the page and 1.5” from the gutter. You can sometimes get away with 0.75” from the page edges but the more space you can have around your text the better.




7. Is your dummy quiet, moody, or reflective or is it exciting, funny, or dramatic? Choose whichever of there is the most appropriate to make sure you have plenty of the important element of contrast before completing your dummy—near & far, light & dark, big & small, soft & hard, organic & geometric shapes. See what other kinds of visual contrast you can think of.



Remember you only get one chance to make a great first impression. So even if you’re tired from all the work you’ve done to get to the dummy stage, it’s worth it to make your dummy the very best it can be!
Here is a worksheet to help you get started!
 If you want the .docx format for this worksheet please download it here: cba-7-composition-secrets-for-your-dummy-worksheet


Mira Reisberg is an award-winning children’s book creative, a former kidlit university professor and a former literary agent. She is also the Director of the Children’s Book Academy and has taught many now highly successful authors and illustrators. Visit her at childrensbookacademy.com or sign up here http://bit.ly/CBA-Tribe-SignUp to receive awesome goodies and special offers starting with a Fab Free deeper than most plotting worksheet called the “Make It Great Plot Template.” Wahoo!!!

PRIZE
@%@%@%@%@%

One lucky person will win their choice of a free class. You have the choice of Fun with Photoshop for Kids or The Hero's Art Journey!  

In order to win this prize you must:

1. Comment below 
2. Share this post on social media. 

Please comment with why you want to win the class. When you share, please let Mira know what you liked best about her post!  Winner will be drawn from those who finish their dummy this month!

*****
Challenge

Get your doodle on! Do a bunch of loose drawings today and think about what you are going to work on tomorrow. Be sure to have your story DONE! If you are struggling with story check out this post!


35 comments:

  1. Great prize! I am just coming into the final portion of Mira's illustration course with the Children's Book Academy. My hope in doing Dani's 30 day dummy challenge is that it will push me to further refine and complete work started there. Winning The Hero's Art Journey would be icing on the cake! Here's hoping...

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  2. Thanks Mira, for sharing the dummy composition tips!

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  3. I would love to win The Hero's Art Journey to enrich my story's appeal! For certain reason I am unable to take the CBA illustration course this year. It is in my plan for next year, Mira!

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  4. Thanks for this great article, Mira. I will be referring to it all month (and beyond). It would be fantastic to take one of your classes. I actually love my art and writing, but something is not connecting with the agents and editors. I need a little help to get to that next level.

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  5. Thanks for this great offer. I won the Photoshop course last year and loved it. It's very professional with a lot of examples. I will not enter my name this year because I need other people to get a chance to win this wonderful price, but I highly recommend and I have been advertising for Mira's classes. I'm not ready for any class yet. I dont think I can commit the time at this point, but these workshops are always haunting my mind. I believe they're worth every penny :)

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  6. Thanks for sharing the composition secrets! Like everything you do, Mira, it's clear, concise and helpful. I took the Writing Picture books course from CBA and was supposed to take the illustration class, but broke my wrist--can't wait to do it next time around. I'm not sure how polished my dummy will be, since I'll be working with my left hand, but I really want to do something with my illustrations. I'd love to take the Hero's art journey class!

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  7. Mira, thank you for always being so thorough and helpful with the instruction you bring. I like the idea of laying out all of the spreads on the floor or wall to get a big picture view to look for variety and details in composition. I have taken both the Picture Book Writing and Illustrating courses through CBA and would love to take the Hero's Art Journey.

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  8. Hi Mira, I particularly like Tip #7 and aim to make my dummy exciting and dramatic with heaps of visual contrast. The Hero's Art Journey is the prize I'm most interested in as it provides a solid background into the history of art and design.

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  9. Thanks for the awesome tips and the worksheet, Mira and Dani!

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    1. Oh, sorry, forgot to answer your questions: I want to win one of the classes because I'm always learning, whether reading books and posts on my own or taking classes IRL and online. And, while I do know the tips, this, especially the worksheet, serves as a nice reminder for when I look at the dummy as a whole because it's hard to remember every single thing we're supposed to do. :)

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    2. Dear Mira
      You can turn anything into "I want to do this". Thank you for the blog with so many surprising elements to use and keep every young reader excited to turning the page. My pick is to win "The hero's journey," and then enrol to illustrate it accordingly to the worksheet. Looking forward to see who Dani's winner is.

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  10. Loved the suggestions on the worksheet. I want to win one of the classes because I'm learning to use photoshop and can use all the help I can find!

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  11. Some great information here to inspire!

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    1. This is a great checklist! I will definitely be going through this list as I am evaluating my dummy spreads. I would love to win the Hero's Art Journey. This is my first picture book dummy and I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed by everything there is to know about laying out the spreads in my book in a way that is exciting and interesting. I know a class like this one would go a long way toward helping me feel more confident in making decisions about my compositions, variety, pacing, etc. Thank you for sharing this.

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  13. Thanks for sharing such useful tips. I particularly like Tip No 1, the point of view and I don't think I pay attention on it when I am making my dummy. If I am lucky, I would like to take the Fun with Photoshop for Kids. Thanks again for the great post.

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  14. I have been curious about these and other classes for some time. I remember wishing more than once, to take one! Yet just the helpful checklist has been a gift at an appropriate time. Thank You!

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  15. I am new to writing and illustrating my own books. I have been wanting to do this since I moved to Austin this past year. Always looking forward to learning and excited to see what this new career path has to offer. Any class prize will be an honor to win!

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  16. Thank you, Mira, for these fantastic tips and checklist. Very helpful. I had been wondering whether action should face left or right, but instinctively right felt right, so I'm glad to hear that's right! Right! The tips about variety are also very helpful. I would be torn between your two classes because I feel I'm holding myself back because of a lack of courage in myself, so I think the Hero's Journey sounds ideal. On the other hand, I've taken two online PS courses, and I still feel confused when I go to use it and would like to be able to apply it more specifically to picture book illustrating, so I think your PS course would be ideal for that. So I guess if I were lucky enough to win, I would need to get your advice on this!

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  17. Wonderful suggestions and the worksheet is so helpful! THANK YOU!!!

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  18. Mira, thanks for all the great hints to make my dummy more exciting. I would love to win a class prize.

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  19. As usual, Mira offers very good information.

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  20. Thank you Mira, for the time and interest you take in helping others. I am always looking to improve, and I find the artistic process always holds new and exiting ways to express the unique visions of an imagined world we all hold within our minds eye. There is nothing like images created with pencil and brush on paper and I need to get back to hands on painting, but Photoshop holds so many options to explore it is hard to get away from experimenting with them. It would be very helpful if a guide could reveal all the visual manipulations so I can concentrate on the creation of hand-drawn (and painted?) works to scan and transform into magical images that may inspire both young and old. It would be nice to be published and make oodles of money, but I dislike peddling my own work. I will most likely self-publish (after a brief period of electronic courtship with agents,)and be content that some may find my submissions to be a hidden treasure in in the slush pile at Amazon.

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  21. My name is Jacqueline Price. Thank you so much. I have been looking for all this information all month, actually many years. I finally found it today. Your information is right on the nose. I have been with mark's critique group for a while and your information for setup and story line is perfect. I have tried to impliment all these things so far but this will sharpen up what I need. I highly recommend anyone to look up Dr. Mira Reisberg. Mira is the Director of the Children's Book Academy. Thank you for your insight in the business. I have 11 more books to illustrate. Thank You again. From Granma, Artist, Teacher, Photographer and Writer Jacqueline Price

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  22. This is a fantastic post. Thanks for these helpful tips. As a PB writer, I've been fearful of an illustration attempt. This checklist helps to demystify what needs to happen in the drawings to make it an interesting book, and avoid some of the faux pas I might have made. Thanks a ton! A class would help me take my skills up another few notches.

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  23. Thank you for sharing Mira! Wonderful checklist to have in hand when needed. I will certainly use it.

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  24. Been looking attacking Mira's classes for a while but never got around to it. I'm sure i'll learn plenty if i do enrol at some point :-) Thanks for the tips Mira.

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  25. Wow, what a great checklist! This is a great overview of composition in a dummy book. Thanks Mira!

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  26. Thank you Mira! Great info and the worksheet keeps everything in one place - very helpful!
    I would LOVE to win your course - I know that I would learn so much!!!

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  27. I thought I commented on this post a few days ago. Ak! I would love the photoshop course prize, so please put me in the raffle for that! This worksheet, in particular, is very helpful. Thank you for this resource! As I play with the images, I realize the text has to be moved, too, to keep that tension and keep the page turns exciting. Thank you, Mira.

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  28. Sheesh. I keep trying to comment, but it doesn't show up. Third time is a charm, I hope! Mira, thanks for this informative post! I loved the worksheet to help make my book even better. I paced out the words and images differently as I created this and looked for variety in the spreads. Your tips are great! The photoshop course would be immensely helpful! Thanks so much.

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  29. Hi Mira! I love the worksheet in your post, because I think it is something I can print out and use as a tool for future reference!I will be sharing this on my google + if I can, or else on facebook.

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  30. so much great info,thanks
    Just finished Mira's course on illustrating, I highly recommend it- I really great group of people and tons of information.
    I'd love to win either course, but I probably need to work on my photoshop the most
    :- )

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  31. Thanks Mira, great tips on dummy composition.

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