by Shawna J.C. Tenney

Creating a storyboard can be a beneficial tool for any picture book writer, just like it is for any film director. Picture books are just like movies, but with a more concise story-telling experience. Therefore, it makes sense to use a storyboard to help construct the narrative.

Creating a storyboard can be an effective strategy for authors to help them decide what to include in their stories and what to leave out. It can also help them determine when to use words to move the story along and when to pause and let the illustrations take over.

Storyboarding is a distinct approach from using a dummy book, in that it allows you to have a holistic view of the entire plot. On the other hand, a dummy book provides a more accurate representation of the published version, due to its use of page turns. Storyboarding can be a useful tool when it comes to picturing the entire narrative at once.

Pacing Book:

Create a pacing book by folding 8 pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper in half and stapling them along the folded side. This will give you 32 pages. The front page will be your title page and either the second page or the back page will be your copyright page.

Take your manuscript and divide it into sections. Secure your narrative in the book by sticking it in place. Rearrange your sentences and paragraphs. Visualize what the illustrations could be. Identify where the page breaks can go. You will soon discover if your tale is the right length.

Read More :   The Childrens Picture Book Project

As an author, you may not have a say in how the book will be structured, but this can help you get an idea of if the pacing is working correctly. I can assist you in determining if there are too many words in any particular part of the book, so that the illustrator can establish the ultimate pacing of the book.


Here is the storyboard I made for my new book, BRUNHILDA’S BACKWARDS DAY/p>

Now, it’s time for you to make a storyboard! Here are some ideas to make your own storyboard:

You can use my template below (also refer to Tara’s picture book layout postCreating a book layout involves more than just typing out the words on the page. The order of the pages needs to be carefully planned, with the title page at the start and the copyright page usually following it. Depending on the book, the copyright page may be the last page.

Creating a storyboard can be done in various ways. Consider using sticky notes, index cards on a board, or a dry erase board. It’s important to remember that most picture books consist of 32 pages.

Begin creating your visual representation! Don’t worry if you doubt your artistic abilities; it’s okay to draw rudimentary figures. Don’t be concerned with the layout if you’re not a skilled illustrator; this storyboard is for you alone.

Ask these questions once you’ve drawn out your storyboard:

  • Is there enough action and visual interest happening in the story?
  • Is there a change of a scenery, or does everything happen in one location?
  • Is each part of the storyboard moving the story forward?

It is important to leave enough space in the text for images. Where possible, remove any detailed descriptions that can be conveyed through visuals and instead focus on where the photographs can take over the narrative.

Read More :   How Many Pages in a Children’s Book? (Average) | Chilkibo Publishing

If you are the author and have ideas that you would like to be expressed through illustrations, consider adding illustration notes. These notes should be brief and provide only the basic information needed. Avoid including detailed descriptions unless they are essential to advancing the plot. Allow the illustrator the freedom to use their natural ability and creativity!

Creating a storyboard of your picture book can be a great way to come up with more imaginative ideas for a charming book. Additionally, by sketching out the story, you may be able to come up with a subplot or introduce characters without words. When you begin to think visually, the possibilities for your story are endless!

Thank you, Shawna! Your debut picture book as both author and illustrator is chock-full of visual candy, even the cover with its reflective background—which is SO COOL. (I like shiny things. I played with the cover for at least a half hour, LOL.)

And blog readers, you can win a copy of BRUNHILDA’S BACKWARDS DAY just by commenting below. One comment per person, US addresses only, please. A winner will be randomly selected in a few weeks. Good luck!

Shawna J.C. Tenney is an author and illustrator with a passion for picture books. Her work can be found in many children’s books, magazines and games. BRUNHILDA’S BACKWARDS DAY, Shawna’s first book as both author and illustrator, was published by Sky Pony Press. Shawna is also the host of the Stories Unbound Podcast, where she loves helping other authors and illustrators. Shawna lives in the beautiful state of Utah with her husband and two kids. Visit her online at or on Twitter at @shawnajctenney. Find more fun with Brunhilda and The Cat at