Ânia Marcos
Ânia Marcos

Failing Towards Success :: Creating a Picture Book From Scratch (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a series where I share the struggles, failures, and victories that I’ve encountered since I started working on my currently ongoing Picture Book project.

In part 1 of this series, I talk about how I found my message. Now in Part 2, we’re diving into the next step:

You know what you want to say… now what?

“Magic exists in the little moments.” Great! I knew what I wanted to say, but I had no clue on how to turn that into a children’s book story.

I decided to start writing ideas using Brian McDonald’s story spine exercise (as explained in his uh-mazing book, Invisible Ink):

Once upon a time… And every day… Until one day… And because of this… And because of this… Until finally… And ever since that day.

The first draft of my picture book was terrible. The second draft wasn’t much better.

…but by the fifth-ish draft, things started to make sense.

By embracing failure, I was able to change, adapt and mold my story until I figured out how it best fit my message.

I was overjoyed when I discovered that I was telling a story about two sisters and how magic brings them together. I now had my characters, my story spine, and a lot of fun possibilities to explore!

Failure wasn’t a waste a time, failure was progress!

What About You?

Have you experienced something similar? In what ways did failure inform your work process? Drop me a comment, I can’t wait to hear all about it!

Next up on this series, I’ll share my character design exploration process ♥ Subscribe to my newsletter and get an email when the post is up!


PS: I talk more about how failure paves the road to success in this ArtCast episode!


  1. Rami - 4 years ago

    I love this! I remember being bummed after my 2nd try in a story, and it still didn’t work. I shelved it after that lol it’s so great to hear that patience pays off. Always inspiring Ania! Keep it up. 😀

    • aniamarcos - 4 years ago

      Thank you, Rami! <3 Oh, I'd love to see a story from you! Hope you'll pick it back up again 🙂 Who knows, maybe with a fresh set of eyes you can see what wasn't working?

      Just today I had a major breakthrough in my story script! It's insane how much back and forth is necessary, but I believe that if you persevere it will pay off! <3 HUG!

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