Illustrator and writer, Dani Duck, continues on her epic quest to become the best picture book author/illustrator ever. Read how she valiantly slays the evil procrastination dragon. Watch as she creates new artwork before your very eyes! Study the mystic arts of picture book creation as Dani reviews some of the best children's picture book professionals of our time!
Gut Checker, Gina Perry, Excuses Aunt Sally and Prizes!
Is your gut working? Gina Perry is here to make sure! Gina creates bold and fun illustrations for children. She doesn't go in all willy nilly when she makes her books. No, indeed. Gina Checks her gut and she's here to explain why you need to do the same every time you go to create!
Aunt Sally and the Gut Check
As much as I loved art as a child, I also loved math. I loved the increasing difficulty of problem solving within a framework of order. I wish that there was a “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally” for dummy making. But it seems as if there are an infinite number of ways to create a dummy and no set rules that will work for everyone.
Many author/illustrators state that the images come first, and they write the words to go with them. I’ve never had this experience. But I do have a particular problem with the order of images and words that might ring true with some of you.
Here’s my process: I get ideas. I mull over them for a long time. I write a story. I revise. I share it with others. I mull over feedback. And then… I get SO excited about making the art that I DIVE into making my dummy. I miss one of the most important steps in order of dummy operations: the gut check.
Is there a nagging voice that tells you your story lacks excitement or innovation? That your main character doesn’t solve his/her own problem? That perhaps your story isn’t age appropriate for your audience? That, worst of all, you’re not really sure what you story is about?
Fix these problems before you start drawing. These problems will not go away. They will only feel that much more challenging under the weight of all your beautiful drawing.
I’m working very hard to overcome this problem myself. I spent the summer of 2014 creating a really lovely picture book dummy. I love the characters. I love the premise and the problem. But I didn’t do a gut check before I started drawing. And I drew the pants out of that whole book. It’s lovely. But it’s flawed.
You will revise. You will redraw. You will even repaint. This is part of the job. But the hardest double takes are the ones where you didn’t listen to your gut along the way.
Take the time to do your gut check. Get feedback from a few trusted sources and see if there are common threads. Take a few days to soak in the feedback and don’t be afraid to try all kinds of revisions to see if they work.
Do the work and fix it before you pick up the pencil. THEN draw the pants out of your story.
Gina Perry lives and works on the seacoast of New Hampshire with her husband and two young children. She illustrated It’s Great Being a Dad, written by Dan Barel coming out Spring 2017 from Tundra Books. Her picture book debut, Small, comes out in Fall 2017 from little bee books. Too Much! Not Enough! and another untitled picture book are forthcoming from Tundra books.
One lucky winner will receive Ring Around the Rosie, illustrated by Gina and an original Buddha painting on paper. Gina paints Buddhas to unwind when she’s in a tricky spot with dummy making. She hopes her painting will bring you a little serenity while YOU work!*
In order to win this prize you must comment on this post.
It would also be super nice if you shared this with your friends!