A FINE finish to the Book Dummy class

The 2015 Book Dummy class on the final day

"The Book Dummy" is a RISD continuing education class where students prepare a rough mock-up for a picture book, known in the trade as a "book dummy."  They spend 12 weeks creating words and images that work together to tell stories. In order to do this, students:

Last Tuesday, we celebrated a semester of hard work with food, music, and readings, and guests. Each student read their book, which they had created and honed during the previous 12 weeks.

The process begins with the words. Texts are read, reviewed, edited and refined. This process continues throughout the entire class. Each word counts!

Storyboarding is a huge part of the process, with much work to be done on pacing, design, and text integration.

Anne read her inspiring story of Chester, an aspiring race horse with self-confidence issues.

several panels at an early stage of storyboarding by Rex

  • write and hone the text (some folks bring in texts written by other authors)
  • learn how to design the page and integrate text through a storyboard
  • do character development, color planning, more detailed sketches, and one finished illustration
  • compile their sketches and finished art into a book form

Rex illustrated a friend's counting story, using tiger characters for Gabriel and Gram.

same panels more developed by Rex

Cathy's storyboard in progress

Nicole's story started off dealing with "the sads" and ended up with "bummers"

They do full size sketches for one completed finish, and color studies. Marketing skills are covered as well.

Next, students spend time developing their characters.

Nicole worked on characters that release their bad feelings with breathing.

 More color and character development from Nicole.

More color and character development from Nicole.

 Sara's protagonist had to cope with the loss of his favorite sofa.

Sara's protagonist had to cope with the loss of his favorite sofa.

Sara's sketches for a finish, character development and color studies.

Bob's little girl has problems sleeping when she doesn't brush her teeth. Her eggs for breakfast, tuna for lunch, and an elephant ear pastry come back to haunt her that night. Bob shows his dummy and one double-page spread illustration with text in place.

Bob's snacks related to his story... tuna sushi, deviled eggs, and elephant's ear pastry!

Terri's "Mighty Macy" has to face life in a scary new house. This is a very complete color study.

Roya and her husband worked together on a traditional Asian folktale, "The Dragon's Daughter." Roya did almost all of the finished art, well beyond the requirements of the class. This piece, which she had completed before the class began, has already won several awards, including the Los Angeles Society of Illustrator's Gold Award.

Roya Ma and Luc Chen, illustrator and author team

 © Rongyuan Ma, The Dragon's Daughter

© Rongyuan Ma, The Dragon's Daughter

Manette's watercolor illustration in progress, with stretched watercolor paper, underpainting, and masking.

 Cheryl Wheeler with her ukulele, and Manette with a color copy of her finished illustration inserted into the dummy.

Cheryl Wheeler with her ukulele, and Manette with a color copy of her finished illustration inserted into the dummy.

Manette's book was based on a song by Cheryl Wheeler, a singer-songwriter of contemporary folk music who has recorded over 13 albums and tours extensively. We had quite the treat when Cheryl brought her ukulele and sang her song, "My Inflatable Plane." 

Thanks so much, Cheryl!!!!

And thanks to all of my students for working so hard, and bringing so much creative juice to class each week!