Picture Book Layout – 32 Pages of Awesome!

At the 2008 SCBWI LA Conference, author/illustrator Adam Rex shared the secret to creating 32 pages of awesome in a picture book layout. Follow these secrets to success to find your own inner illustration-diva:

What Layout Choices Does the Illustrator Have?

  • It is the illustrator’s job to create the page breaks in the manuscript.
  • The size of the book is also up to the illustrator. It’s always good to consider price however when creating a size.

A Few Facts About Formatting:

  • The first page (with text of story) will always start on the right, and is usually page 5. It will look like a mistake otherwise.
  • Assume the book will be 32 pages, add more if you can’t fit it all. Look at other picture books for sizes and pacing, etc.

To Each His Own. Adam’s Process:

  • Adam’s uses a lot of photo reference and will often take his own photos using himself and his family.
  • He usually works about 150% of the size it will be printed and in some cases 200%.
  • However his last two books were completely painted digitally.
  • It takes him about 3-4 months to paint a picture book. That does not include the planning, sketching phases.

A Bit about The Business:

  • Yes, you will retain the rights to your artwork.
  • Adam actually sells about a half a dozen original paintings a year.
  • Usually, he deals with the editor far more than the art director. However, once he never spoke to an editor and did the entire project thru the art director.

Adam Rex is the illustrator of The Dirty Cowboy, Frankenstein Makes and Sandwich, Frankenstein Takes the Cake, Tree Ring Circus, and Pssst. His first novel The True Meaning of Smekday was published in 2007, and his second novel Fat Vampire came out in July 2010.

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