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Creating Picture Books 2015 | September 30 – October 4, 2015

If you have a passion for picture books and a desire to write and/or illustrate them, this workshop is an opportunity to work directly with award-winning writer and illustrator Robert J. Blake. During this hands-on workshop, Robert will share his technique for writing and illustrating and offer insights into the craft of creating picture books. The workshop will begin with a full day of creative exercise to stimulate the imagination before developing your specific idea. From there you’ll learn how to:

  • work out an idea in a sketchbook and dummy
  • balance text and art
  • pace the words and/or art in a visual way
  • be tactile in creating

You’ll also learn:

  • what makes a good story
  • how to explore all the possibilities in a story, and then eliminate all except what works and fits the flow
  • how to drop most of the adjectives and adverbs to let the art (or artist) do the visual work
  • how to get and stay loose

Whether you’re a writer or illustrator, this is an excellent chance to hone your skills and discover new methods of working in a supportive atmosphere.

Faculty & Special Guests

Creating Picture Books Preliminary Schedule

Wednesday, September 30
5:30 pm, Appetizers & dinner

Thursday, October 1
7-8:30 am, Breakfast
9 am -12 pm, Cleaning House: creative exercises to empty the mind, led by Robert Blake
12:15-1:15 pm, Lunch
1:30–5 pm, Refueling: creative exercises to fill us up again, led by Robert Blake

Friday, October 2
7-8:30 am, Breakfast
9–10:30 am, Robert Blake: Technique for finding out what we have and organizing it to create a picture book
10:45 am –12 pm, One-on-one discovery session, writing and/or illustrating time
12:15-1:15 pm, Lunch
1:30–2:30 pm, Tim Gillner, art director: “What art directors look for in picture book illustration”
2:45-5 pm, Presentation by Robert Blake: Technique for creating a picture book: thumbnails and dummy
5:30 pm, Appetizers & dinner

Saturday, October 3
7-8:30 am, Breakfast
9–10:30 am, Robert Blake: Finding that perfect illustration sample to present
10:45–12:00 pm, One-on-one critiques, writing and/or illustrating time
12:15-1:15 pm, Lunch
1:30–3 pm, Presentation by guest Trinka Hakes Noble
3:30–5 pm, Robert Blake: Tightening up the picture book
5:30 pm, Appetizers & dinner

Sunday, October 4
7-8:30 am, Breakfast
9-10:30 am, Wrap-up session: “What I’ve Got Is Not Precious (yet): how to get and stay loose;” questions and discussion
10:45-12 pm, Final critiques
12:15-1:15 pm, Lunch and departure