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Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books
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Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  481 ratings  ·  47 reviews
To create a good picture book or story book, you must understand how the two differ in concept. A story book tells a story with words. Although the pictures amplify it, the story can be understood without them. The pictures have an auxiliary role, because the words themselves contain images. In contrast, a true picture book tells a story mainly or entirely with pictures.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Watson-Guptill (first published 1985)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Kristl
May 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people that like illustration
Uri Shulevitz, himself a children's book illustrator, shows us, through a variety of techniques and examples, how and why picture books are picture books.

A mix of art technique and a survey children's book illustration, this book is ideal for anyone who is interested in how picture books work so well to tell a story with such few words (hint: the pictures are more important than the words).
Huda
Sep 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Huda by: Mrs.NJD
I began reading this book for a certain purpose, even though the project was cancelled, I was eager to complete it.

Here's a book that will defiantly help any 1 who is interested in writing / illustrating children's books

Well , the author asked at the beginning;
"Is your book happy??"
cause that what really matters!
Then, he started telling what help u decide wither your book is happy or not.
And at the end, he stated a quote :
"Instructions does not prevent waste of time or mistakes; and mistakes
...more
Liz
Dec 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who is interested in learning how to illustrate for kids needs a copy of this book. Uri Shulevitz is a master of visual storytelling, and covers all of the fundamentals of putting together a picture book that works-- for publishers, writers, and readers.
One caveat: Anyone who is as new to the topic as I was when I read it should be aware:
It is no longer necessary to do color separations of your work. (Thanks goodness)
Just consider it a bit of fascinating historical information on the
...more
Patsy Parker
I took a long time to go through this book only because I have been reading through so many other books at the same time.

I like Uri's examples of how to actually do a layout of a picture book. Although this was written many years ago, the basic rules still apply. He shows how to do a dummy book and many examples of other people's art including his own which I don't care for much, but that's just me. :)

If you are interested in writing and illustrating children's picture books, you may enjoy this.
Bree Clausen
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as research in illustration my own picture book. I read about 10 books and this was the best. It covers all aspects of illustrating from composition to the flow of illustrations in the story board, etc. It was very easy to follow with picture examples to illustrate the concepts. This is the only book you need to read if you want to learn everything about illustrating a children's picture book.
Lynn  Davidson
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is an amazingly thorough journey through creating picture books and illustrating them. Uri Shulevitz explains with illustrations and examples how a picture book is created from the beginning ideas to the making of the physical book.
This is a book not only for illustrators but for writers of picture books because it gives a clear understanding of how to lay out one's story so that text and art work together in the best way.
Every writer and illustrator of picture books would benefit from
...more
Earl
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A must read reference guide for any aspiring children's book creator. Goes into details about the importance of sequencing and creating dummies and will make you look at the picture book as a whole in a new even more appreciative way. The second half gets very technical in terms of the illustrating aspect of things. It may have been first published over thirty years ago but I can see how the advice remains relevant even now.
Jen
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing, art
Great intro to how picture books are made from one artist. Since it's from 1985, publishing info is outdated - for example, the difference color versions are probably done on photoshop now, not by hand.

Yet, it gives a friendly overview to a reader who wonders what goes into making a fun picture book for kids. It turns out that it's created by A LOT more artist's decisions than a person might judge by such short and simple stories.
Sheri
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Have reread this book many times to see the drawings and the way to put together a picture book dummy and story and where to plan for the pages to sit and where to have the gutter or middle of the pages. And how to start and end the story. Lots of information and helpful with laying out the story and the illustrations. Recommend to all picture book writers even though it is not a current book.
Rachel Wilson
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in writing and/or illustrating books. I learned so much and the author provided amazing examples for every concept. I’ll probably need to reread it every year!
Roxanne Troup
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Definitely more geared to illustrators, however there is a nice section on book dummies that all authors should read.
Beatrisa
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a great book. Effective writing skills. Just love it
Adriana
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great all-around reference for the picture book format.
His note about storybooks vs. picture books remains true.
Jill Pickle
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
A little outdated in the more technical aspects of bookmaking but overall a necessary read for illustrators and designers of picture books!
Tandava Brahmachari
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: illustrations, art
This is a very thorough overview of all aspects of making a children's book, and you get the sense that the author really, intimately knows what he's talking about every step of the way. The many examples taken from his own work show his wide range of abilities in different styles of illustration particularly, so he's definitely well qualified. He also includes dozens (if not hundreds) of thumbnail drawings illustrating the different principles he describes. I would actually have preferred a ...more
Randy
Mar 18, 2008 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
If he has not already done so without my knowledge, I hope the author updates this book in a new edition. It is sadly dated, at least in terms of the technology and methodology of publishing, but it is also an amazing text covering everything relating to writing and illustrating children's books (in an era when all editors seem to be telling authors to stay away from doing their own illustrations). Book binding, printing methods, artists' materials/media, story construction, figure drawing, ...more
Melissa
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Illustrated with dozens (if not hundreds) of Shulevitz's own doodles and cartoons to bring his points to life. Great tips and exercises for artists, but what I (as a picture book reader) will go over again and again are his chapters on sequence, action, content, space & composition. The chapters on color separation and prepress are obsolete, but this book is still worth its weight in gold. And still in print!
Joanna
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: artsy
From about the time I learned how to write, I've dreamed of writing and illustrating children's books. So far, I've done neither, BUT if I ever try, this book is going to be one of my best resources. Uri Shulevitz is an accomplished children's literature author and illustrator, and he gives very practical advice on picture composition, book layout, and just about anything else you can think of to assist the aspiring author/illustrator.
Rob
Dec 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
A very thorough and indepth look at every aspect of illustrating picture books. Great information for ANYONE interested in producing a picture book. Keep in mind this book was originally published several decades ago and much of the printing info at the end is outdated. Read it for a nice history lesson, or to gain a solid appreciation for modern printing.
Barbara
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I re-read this book. My interest in children's book illustration has evolved and I am inspired by Shulevitz and his careful and logical approach to creating a picture/story book. The concept of making pictures readable is essential for anyone doing illustrations that require consistency, continuity, and creative interest. I'm so glad I kept this on my bookshelf as a reference book
CX Dillhunt
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-to-write
impressive, I have a master's in children's literature, I'm only now understanding, thanks to Shulevitz's clean writing & superb illustrations & copious examples, what it's all about, how to use pictures to tell, how pics are ancillary to story, how pic can tell the story & the words are more the sound track, best I've ever come across on this topic, useful, I think for all writers, all genres
Teresa
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(*waving hand* This is not the review you were looking for -- just wanted to reminisce about buying this back around 1994 after my friend Debbie recommended it to me...and how I miss her and doing art things with her.)
Elizabeth Blake
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: illustration
This is the classic on all the details of children's book illustration that we should keep in mind when developing the illustrations for a story. My suggestion is to review this book before creating a storyboard for a picture book and the flow and content of your illustrations with soar.
Marik Berghs
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Classic book for writers and illustrators of children's books. Really helps a writer visualize how the illustrator works in their own language to support the writing and vice-versa. Excellent tool and great reading. Really a 4.5 star but it is dated in that there are so many great new books to add.
Nora Murad
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-writers
A practical book packed with information and advice for writers and illustrators alike. It was recommended to me by an illustrator, but I found it invaluable as a writer. The examples are numerous and well conveyed. A must-read and reference for illustrated book writers.
Misty Mcnally
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my number-one recommendation to anyone who wants to illustrate a children's book or write one for the very young. The instructions and tips given helped me immeasureably on my own journey to publishing a children's book, Santa's Scenic Valley Ride (2011).
Miquela
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I learned quite a lot about the process of writing with pictures from this book and find it to be a very useful reference. However, I think a new edition is needed to take into account the evolution of print technology.
Shannon
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Really only fully read about half of this -- a bit was relevant really mostly for illustrators, and some of the technology was crazy-out-of-date, like preparing images for color separated printed. Good starting point, though.
Jacquelin Devlin
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
And if I were an illustrator, I would have given it five-stars. A clear, basic text and the best explanation of what a picture book is that I have come across. Read early in your writing career!
Bree
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: illustrators
Notes:
interesting although out-of-date
if this information was so 'obvious' as some folks think there would be fewer and better books on the kids' book shelf at the library
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Uri Shulevitz is a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator and author. He was born in Warsaw, Poland, on February 27, 1935. He began drawing at the age of three and, unlike many children, never stopped. The Warsaw blitz occurred when he was four years old, and the Shulevitz family fled. For eight years they were wanderers, arriving, eventually, in Paris in 1947. There Shulevitz developed an enthusiasm ...more