Ânia Marcos
Ânia Marcos

Finding Out Your Message :: Creating a Picture Book From Scratch (Part 1)

This is Part 1 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.

What’s Your Message?

The first step towards my Picture Book project was figuring out what ‘exactly’ I wanted to say.

I struggled with random pieces of ideas: maybe I could do something with pink goblins. Would there be magic? What if I had different kinds of goblins?

…but none of this was an actual story. I needed to understand why I wanted to write and illustrate a picture book in the first place.

How can I tell a story when I have nothing to say?

I read and read all kinds of picture books. I tried to understand the message of each one, and what it made me feel.

The day I discovered ‘The Lines On Nana’s Face’, by Simona Ciraolo, something clicked for me. Even though the story was a simple interaction between a little girl and her grandmother, it made me cry (I talk about this book in this podcast episode).

I felt happy, grateful and nostalgic all at once.

…and I realized I wanted to create stories, art and blog posts that would brighten other people’s days.

But even though I felt like I was finally getting somewhere, I still didn’t know what I wanted to write about.

It wasn’t until I took a day off to be with friends, make pancakes and laugh together that I came up with my message:

Magic exists in the little moments. We’re just too busy to see it sometimes.

After that break, I felt like I had a sense of direction. Now I could start figuring out what story best fits my message.

…but that’s a tale for part 2. 😉

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  1. Pat marconett - 4 years ago

    Really liked this post. I’m kinda stuck there right now on a new book project. Have general idea of the world & characters, but not sure what I want to say about it or why. On Emme & Oreo (not the released one but a follow up long format graphic novel) i struggled because I Wanted Emme to explore cool places but it didn’t seem like it fit her character. Then it hit me on a long car trip ‘the cat is overly curious & gets them in bad situations & and Emme has to become a reluctant hero because she cares for the cat’. Still waiting for the ah ha moment on the new project.

    • aniamarcos - 4 years ago

      Ooohhh, I love that, Pat! It makes a lot of sense that the cat is the one dragging Emme to these adventures! 😀 It really fits your characters well!

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, I’m so glad you like the post!

      A thought that came to mind: what are Emme’s worst fears? Maybe your story could be about overcoming them with the help of a friend? There are so many fun options to explore, I’m really looking forward to your new project!! <3

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