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

by Uri Shulevitz
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1, 1997 0823059359 978-0823059355 Reprint
Contents: - Telling the Story - Picture Book or Story Book? - Picture Sequence - The Story: A Complete Action - Story Content - Picture Book Characteristics - Planning the Book - Storyboard and Book Dummy - Size, Scale, and Shape - The Structure of a Printed Book - Creating the Pictures - The Purpose of Illustration - Drawing Figures and Objects - Visual References - Picture Space and Composition - Principles of Technique - Style - Preparing for Reproduction - Printing Basics - Color Preseparation - Techniques for Reproduction

Frequently Bought Together

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books + Illustrating Children's Books: Creating Pictures for Publication + The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children's Books: From creating characters to developing stories, a step-by-step guide to making magical picture books
Price for all three: $57.33

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Shulevitz, a well-established children's author and illustrator, uses discussion and more than 600 illustrations to convey principles he follows in his work. He covers story writing briefly, but gives most of his attention to the drawing of illustrations. Shulevitz makes his points slowly and completely and starts at a very basic level. He covers technical questions of how actually to proceed in developing ideas into books, as well as aesthetic and ethical issues. While Shulevitz's frequent use of his own work as a model of excellence and his unabashed presentation of his own point of view limit the range of styles and approaches presented, the book will still be useful as a starting point for aspiring children's authors. Kathryn W. Finkelstein, formerly with Georgia Inst. of Technology Lib., Atlanta
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Uri Shulevitz has written and illustrated more than 30 children's books. In 1969 he received the Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in Arthur Ransome's retelling of The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. In 1980 The Treasure, which he wrote and illustrated, was selected as a Caldecott Honor Book. Other children's books by Uri Shulevitz include One Monday Morning, The Magician, Rain Rain Rivers (winner of a bronze medal at the 1970 Leipzig International Book Exhibition), and Dawn (given the 1975 Christopher Awards and chosen as a 1976 Honor Book by the International Board on books for Young People). Uri Shulevitz has taught the writing and illustrating of children's books at the New School for Social Research in New York City. He has also directed a summer workshop at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; Reprint edition (May 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823059359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823059355
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
197 of 201 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
As a children's book author and editor, I know that no one understands picture books better than Uri Shulevitz, and no one is more articulate about how they work. Most books about writing for children focus on young novels or on straightforward picture book stories. This book inspires you to think beyond those predictable formats and instead embrace the poetry of a good picture book, the magic of a good collaboration between text and art which is necessary whether you are working on a story book or a concept book or a nonfiction book. An intelligent and inspiring guide to the art of good bookmaking.
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137 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Foundation for Creating Children's Books January 27, 2000
I found this very readable book to be very well thought out in its explanation of what makes for a successful children's book. It has the most examples of illustrations of any book on writing children's books I have seen, with many illustrations showing why some methods work and others fail. Uri is vary clear and benevolent in his sharing the princeiples for successfully creating a book for children. It was like being in workshop. With this book I feel prepared to pursue creating a kids' book!
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
This review is condensed from a longer review on my web site, The Purple Crayon.

The author of Writing with Pictures is a Caldecott medalist, and he gives the reader a master's class in the theory and the practicalities of picture book illustration in particular and of illustration more generally.

CONTENTS: This is a substantial book, large format, 272 pages, with over 600 illustrations (mostly black and white, many of them small). Shulevitz breaks it down into four sections: Telling the Story, Planning the Book, Creating the Pictures, and Preparing for Reproduction. There is also an appendix with advice on finding a publisher, a short bibliography, and a useful index.

Telling the Story: In this section, Shulevitz opens with the difference between a picture book and a story book. He then goes on to explain his theory of "visual storytelling," using many visual examples. He also demonstrates how text and illustration work together in a picture book, and closes with a discussion of the characteristics of a picture book, such as "linear continuity" and rhythm and repetition.

Planning the Book: In this section, Shulevitz shows the steps an illustrator goes through to create a book: starting with a story board; moving on to a dummy; working with text in a layout; playing with many possibilities of size, scale, shape; and dealing with the structure of a printed book. Step-by-step visual illustrations make this easy to follow.

Creating the Pictures: This section starts with theory: the purpose of illustration is to clarify or even illuminate the text, and thus the illustrator must at least make the pictures "readable." He then focuses on creating illustrations themselves.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Make every picture tell a story February 20, 2006
Shulevitz presents a clear, complete guide to the basics of creating a book for children. It starts with a brief discussion of plot, development, and resolution - maybe not what you remember about an illustrated children's book, but you know it when they're not well worked out. Given a story, the next step is in creating its pictures. Narrative illustration, the kind that contains a story and moves the reader through it, is a lot more than just the individual panels that make it up. Pictures may spotlight a few key events in the text, or they may take on the real load of the story-teller's task. It depends not only on the artistic decisions of the illustrator and writer (often different people), but also on the age range of the intended audience.

Next, the author starts getting into some of the mechanics of contemporary book construction. That includes the size and shape of the book, but also the number of pages (usually 32 or 48), including front matter. With that, Shulevitz discusses storyboards and dummies, where the art and story start to come to life. The book's longest section covers the artwork itself: media, composition, style, and all the mechanics of creating the images. Although worthwhile, this material may be more basic than the aspiring children's illustrator needs. This book gets back on track in the last section, on how printing is done and what that means to the book's creator.

Remember Dr. Seuss's flat expanses of one or two solid colors? They were required by the affordable printing processes of his time, up to about twenty years before this book was written (1985). Printing processes advanced in the twenty years since then, too, so some of the technical advice may be out of date for today's readers.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creating Children's Books 101 May 16, 2007
Uri Shulevitz's book Writing With Pictures is a treasure trove of valuable information concerning writing/illustrating children's books. For those with no interest whatsoever in illustration, the book explains how illustrations enhance and fulfill the promise of the text. For those only interested in illustration, the book describes how to correctly construct illustrations so that they illuminate, rather than repeat, the prose.

The book is divided in four parts. Part one defines/contrasts picture books and story books; two, describes how to plan the book; three, explains the construction and purpose of illustrations; and four, provides instruction on how to prepare illustrations for reproduction for publishing.

Although the book could be used for college courses in both art and literature, it is easily readable, enjoyable and informative. For individuals serious about writing and/or illustrating books for children, this book is a must-have resource. It's a keeper!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for La Máquina de Aventuras
I read and read, and this book really provided the tools to understand children's literature. It was crucial on the early stages when I wrote a Spanish children’s audio story... Read more
Published 12 days ago by G. Lopez
2.0 out of 5 stars Too dated
After reading the reviews for this book I purchased a copy thinking that it looked promising. But I was disappointed with some of the content. Read more
Published 16 days ago by soccer mom
3.0 out of 5 stars Old School ways to Illustrate Children's Books
This book has good, basic but dated information. It is purely old school with reference to hands on art materials, no technology mentioned. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Joani Share
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for illustrators and writers of children's books
My copy was in perfect condition.
This book is valuable for both illustrators and writers of picture and picture story books.
Published 3 months ago by Miriam Aroner
5.0 out of 5 stars Much More Than Title Promises
I found this book to go far beyond what I expected. It covers the author's creative processes, step by step. Read more
Published 6 months ago by HAROLD W CHENEY
5.0 out of 5 stars A1 quality
A detailed and highly comprehensive coverage of the stages and design elements required for picture book writers/illustrators working towards a finished product - for both... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kathie A.
3.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Relevance
This is an awesome book & all of the positive reviews are accurate. I thought the last chapter can go. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sada
2.0 out of 5 stars Writing With Pictures
Because Uri is one of my favorite writers, I guess I expected something different. It was a little outdated in several ensconces.
Published 11 months ago by Phyllis Solcyk
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This is a good book for getting some ideas on getting started. As someone who is more interested in the illustrating side I felt it leaned far too heavily onto the side of writing,... Read more
Published 12 months ago by L. Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Art Illustration made easy
Thank you for making this book available to me. I have learned so much from reading and scanning the whole book, so far. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Esther M. Campbell
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