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I have developed a series of templates I use for my picture book thumbnails. I keep them in my computer and print one out when I start a new book. I have a square book format as well as a vertical book format. I like to have the page numbers showing when I work. I tend to move back and forth among the spreads. I add information from one and correct the information in another as I work out the page flows. I like to print the text in page break pieces – approximately to scale – and tape them down on the thumbnails to see how the final pages with the copy might look. And to make sure I leave enough room in the image later when I paint it so the text isn’t crowded.

Below is the initial rough thumbnails I sent to the publisher for comments. Not everything is in scale, nor finalized. I wait to do the details during the second phase of the book layout, after I have gotten commentary from the editor and the art director.

As you can see, my sketches are more detailed than some other artists’. The important thing at this stage is to make sure the action is legible and someone viewing the thumbnails for the first time can get a general idea of what your plan for the book is.

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