My experience as an illustrator of children’s picture books has taught me more than you might think about cinematic storytelling. To effectively tell a story using pictures, one must consider placement and scale as well as flow from one page or shot to the next.

Each year the Caldecott Medal is awarded for outstanding illustration in a children’s book. In 2008, Brian Selznick won for his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It’s the first book of this format to win. It’s long, 544 pages, about half and half text and images. The drawings are big beautiful pencil sketches. The story is even better, about magical things, like movies, automatons and well, just read the book. Film history buffs will recognize Georges Méliès’ movie a Trip to the Moon. Take notice of how the story flows between text and illustration and how these technique somehow apply to film. It’s beautiful. Check it out. Watch a New York Times video about it.

I also mentioned a couple other books that explore some great topics on book illustration, including Writing with Pictures by Uri Shulevitz. This book does a great job of tackling layout and image selection.

Writing With Pictures

This book is actually geared toward filmmakers, but I feel like it’s worth mentioning, especially for storyboarding skills. It’s Film Directing Shot By Shot and it has some fascinating boards. This is good for learning how to depict subject and camera motion in still drawings.

Shot by Shot

Please consider storyboards for your project. You will save valuable time and energy and lot of embarrassment.