If you are a scatter-brain like me, your brain sprouts an idea every 35 seconds.
This makes me jumpy and quirky, and it takes a life-time of discipline to organize these thoughts methodologically to ensure the truly good ideas do not slip through my fingers.
Visual cues trigger my memory the fastest, which is why I like using transparent folders. (They cost $1.50 for 10 folders at my local Daiso.) Other simple tools include small post-its and paper clips.
In my previous post How I Study Picture Books, I shared my method of using rough thumbnails to understand picture books. When I write stories, I use the same method. The only difference is that I use post-its to brainstorm, for the process requires switching scenes' order constantly.
|I name this section "Concepts".|
Sometimes the story comes first; other times, characters come first. The process is organic. I create a section called "Sketches" and place all my early drawings here.
|The "Sketches" section.|
|A section called "Dummy v.1" for my reference.|
If my agent likes the story, we work on it together to make it better. When the story is ready, my agent will send the dummy to publishers. And if the story finds an editor, the story editing and revision process truly begins.
At this stage, the story gets an "upgrade" – The packet will move from a flimsy transparent folder to a rigid transparent folder, for it holds more contents.
|More developed ideas get a folder "upgrade".|
|Transparent folders organized vertically for easy access.|
I hope you find my process helpful. How do you organize your ideas, sketches, and artwork? I would love to learn from you too. :)
~ Maple Lam
Illustrator of Two Girls Want a Puppy by Evie & Ryan Cordell, Published by HarperCollins, June 2015.
Author/Illustrator of My Little Sister and Me, Pubished by HarperCollins, Summer 2016.