- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Watson-Guptill; Reprint edition (May 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0823059359
- ISBN-13: 978-0823059355
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 81 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #507,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books Reprint Edition
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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.
From the Back Cover
To create a good picture book or story book, you must understand how the two differ in concept. A story book tells a story with words. Although the pictures amplify it, the story can be understood without them. The pictures have an auxiliary role, because the words themselves contain images. In contrast, a true picture book tells a story mainly or entirely with pictures.
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Note for readers of this review - this is a learning book, be prepared to sit down and walk through the ideas slowly - so you can absorb them. It's NOT a book on how to draw, but a book on WHAT to draw. I am working on my own book, and changed my direction completely once I understood why you do the things you do in picture books!!
In Writing With Pictures, Shulevitz explains and analyzes every aspect of writing and illustrating children's books and illustrates each aspect with illustrations, some by him and some by other children's book illustrators. Writing With Pictures is a somewhat demanding book that is meant to be read - and studied - from cover to cover. (The reader can safely skip Part Four, which consists of pages 208-242, as the material in Part Four, on reproduction of children's books, is outdated given that Writing With Pictures was published in pre-digital 1985.)
The level of detail and nuance that Shulevitz goes into is remarkable. He discusses many aspects of writing and illustrating children's books that one might not otherwise think about, such as how "The shape of a book is in itself a statement and can create a mood," a topic he discusses and illustrates in depth in the chapter on "Size, Scale, and Shape."
Don't let the fact that Writing With Pictures was published in 1985 deter you from buying a copy, as (with the exception of material in Part Four) it is packed with timeless information, fundamental concepts and principles, etc., about writing and illustrating children's books. I majored in illustration and design at NYC's School of Visual Arts in the late sixties and early seventies and I took a course in humorous illustration there in the mid-eighties and I had the privilege of studying under some very fine illustrators and teachers. Uri Shulevitz is a very fine illustrator and in Writing With Pictures he demonstrates that he is a very fine teacher as well. There are no lessons or assignments in the book and when I describe it as a master course what I mean is that when you read and study it, you are in the hands of a genuine master. The serious student should easily be able to draw her own lessons and assignments from the book.
The title might make you think this book is about illustrating children's books. Yes, an illustrator can get a graduate degree from the material here. But the title doesn't really do the book justice, because Shulevitz covers both writing and illustration. He covers both topics together, showing how the text and the pictures move a story forward to a satisfactory conclusion. Quoting from the book (p.29):
"When the actor-stage relationship is clear, when the picture code is consistent, when the progression is appropriate to the action, the picture sequence will 'speak' to the reader. The more clearly the picture sequence speaks, the more enjoyment the reader will be able to get from it. And giving a feeling of satisfaction is essential in children's books."
This book has literally hundreds of example illustrations and text excerpts. Most are pencil and ink sketches, but don't be fooled: the author created most of them specifically to illustrate this book. They do a great job.
I'm done gushing. If you are interested in this topic, buy the book. You won't be disappointed.
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