A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Planning and presenting a picture book in storyboard form by Clara Vulliamy

Of interest, I hope, to anyone thinking of both writing and illustrating a picture book…


I’d like to show the first crucial stages of how I put together the story, the words and the images to make a book. In this case the book is Martha and the Bunny Brothers I Heart Holidays, because it’s coming out next week (hooray!) after a very long gestation, so I’ve enjoyed going back to the first few weeks when it mostly just existed in a thought bubble above my head.


I develop a storyboard on one long piece of paper so I can see it all at once.
(the biscuits are for scale, of course, not because I would like to eat them)

Here is a close up – it’s fiendishly hard to photograph, I’m afraid.


I don’t think too much about detail and I resist the temptation to colour in.
I’m thinking about the shape of how the story will unfold, the dramatic build up, the climax, the emotional pay-off, and I cut and stick and keep moving it around.
I can take this in to show the editor and designer, and because it’s not a detailed dummy we can all feel very un-precious about making big changes.

I try to keep all the older versions.
At one point I thought that in the story when it rains and the bunnies feel sad they could all be under their own sad rain cloud…


But then we thought no, keep the sunny energy flowing and show it like this instead…


So much useful concentrated thinking goes on at this stage, that when I look at the book now, real at last, it is incredibly close to that first exploratory scribble.


6 comments on “Planning and presenting a picture book in storyboard form by Clara Vulliamy

  1. Pingback: I Heart Holidays #1 | Sunny side up!

  2. Keris
    June 30, 2014

    This is GORGEOUS! So looking forward to this book (we’re taking it on holiday) x

  3. Catherine
    June 30, 2014

    Lovely to see the work in progress – I can’t wait to see the finished book 🙂

  4. Sara
    June 30, 2014

    This is so lovely! Of course if I were to follow it then step #1 in writing and illustrating a picture book would be learn to draw! That said, I did make a dummy for my latest on the advice of my editor. The pictures are nothing to look at but I found it helpful in working out (and reducing!) my text. Next time I will steal your scroll idea in order to see the movement of the whole thing.
    I look forward to the new book!

  5. kateormand
    June 30, 2014


  6. Gill Pawley
    July 1, 2014

    So lovely! Thank you

Comments are closed.


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