I write lists of Key Words, Titles, Character Names, and Story Ideas.
To gather information on a topic, I read books and magazines, and search the Internet.
I decide what kind of characters to have, either animals, people, aliens, or…. Then, I keep drawing characters until the right ones show up on the drawing paper.
I make color sketches to test how the art will look. I may use a cartoonish style, a realistic style, or something in between. Usually I use bright colors.
I make a small diagram of the book, using index cards or sticky notes to represent the pages. The books have 32 pages, plus the jacket. I roughly sketch out what will happen on each page.
I write the text on my computer. I keep revising it until it tells the story and gets the information across clearly. I might have to rewrite the manuscript five times, or ten times, or more.
The dummy is a rough copy of what the book will look like. It is the size and shape I think will work best. It has the words plus sketches of the art, so my editor can read it like a real book, and offer suggestions.
Once both my editor and I are happy with the dummy, the last step is to render the final artwork. For more details, go to the Illustrations Page.