What is it?
A 25-week-long online group challenge to create and submit a picture book dummy.
Start date: January 9, 2012
End date: July 1, 2012
Who can join?Anyone! Though geared primarily toward author/illustrators, writers who are not artists can benefit from portions of the dummy exercise, and illustrators without an original manuscript can use the process to create a dummy portfolio piece.
Can I participate without attending kidlitart Twitter chats?
Yes, the challenge steps will be posted here on the blog--but we encourage you to take advantage of all avenues for joining in the discussion: leave comments here; drop by #kidlitart at 9 pm Eastern on Thursday nights; and check in with your Twitter colleagues any time via the challenge hashtag: #PBDummy. (Our thanks to illustrator Diandra Mae for again allowing us to use the clever twibbon she designed for the first Picture Book Dummy Challenge! Download yours here.)
Do I have to post my work online?
No! We will be discussing the steps in general terms. If you wish to receive feedback or critiques on specific ideas or artwork, you are free to exchange messages or post images with trusted partners in protected venues. DO NOT post original artwork in comments here: please be mindful of the nature of the internet and use caution when posting art ANYWHERE.
What if I don’t want to create a picture book dummy? Will I be left out of #kidlitart until July?Not at all! This year, most of the challenge activity will take place here on the blog or via the #PBDummy hashtag. We will schedule a progress chat to correspond with each of the nine steps, but the remainder of the chats will cover the entire range of topics of interest to picture book illustrators and friends of the genre.
Are there any rules for the challenge?
No rules at all for participating. The idea is to have a great time while accomplishing something useful. If you’ve ever taken part in a similar challenge, you know the value of community: checking in regularly, encouraging others, allowing yourself to be held accountable to a schedule—all this will help you get the most from the experience.
This year, we have added a sign-up procedure for those of you interested in the endgame (see below). If you want to be considered for the agent review at the close of the challenge, you must register by leaving a comment at the close of this post.
You will have until January 15 to decide if you want to make your participation “official.” This relates ONLY to the query contest outlined below. If you decide not to sign up publicly, or come to the challenge late, you can still participate and enjoy the reward of a finished dummy for your portfolio! Only those who have signed up by January 15, however, will be eligible for the Super Agent Query Review at the close of the challenge.
*STAY TUNED for a special offer for the first 25 participants to sign up!*
Tell me more about this Super Agent Query Review.
At the close of the challenge, you will be given an opportunity to post a query of your project. (This is entirely voluntary!) An agent will review the queries, pick the three most promising, and provide an in-depth critique of each of the corresponding dummies.
Professional feedback! Exciting, yes? And even if you opt out of the query contest, or don’t get picked for the professional critique, you still have the satisfaction of having conquered the picture book dummy challenge . . . plus a valuable addition to your portfolio. Win-win!
So pull out your #PiBoIdMo stash, dust off those concept sketches you’ve been hoarding since art school, and join us as we commit to getting it done!
Oh, one more thing! Remember we asked you to stay tuned for a special offer? Wendy has compiled the wit and wisdom of the challenge posts from the 2011 #PBDummy challenge into an attractive ebook, which she is offering FREE to the first 25 challenge participants to sign up. This pdf download includes transcripts of guest chats with picture book author Tara Lazar and illustrators Ward Jenkins, Dani Jones and Tara Larsen Chang, along with helpful links and suggestions for further research at each step in the dummy challenge.
Full disclosure: The original posts are still up, for those who don’t mind scrolling through the blog archives, but Wendy has distilled the information into a handy package that would make a great addition to your reference library. The pdf is available on Wendy’s site for a modest fee of $5. A portion of each sale will be donated to Brushes for Vincent, a charity providing art supplies to children who would otherwise be without any.
HOW WE BREAK THIS DOWN
Each step in the challenge will be introduced* by a post here on the kidlitart blog. Greg Matusic has started things off with a great inspirational post on why you should consider joining the fun, and we will be hosting other talented folks from the picture book community at intervals throughout the challenge.
You are invited to check in via the comments section at any time to share your progress or ask questions . . . and there will be a “How’s it going?” chat scheduled at the close of each step in the process, to keep us on course.
*To avoid repeating ourselves, you will be directed to either the archived post from last year, or to the pdf compilation, for links and tips associated with each step.
STEP 1: Pick your project (1 week) Jan. 9-Jan. 15
STEP 2: Draft the story (4 weeks) Jan. 16-Feb. 12
STEP 3: Develop the characters (2 weeks) Feb. 13-Feb. 26
STEP 4: Storyboard text and art (2 weeks) Feb. 27-Mar. 11
STEP 5: Render tight, full-size sketches (8 weeks) Mar. 12-May 6
STEP 6: Produce final art of two spreads (4 weeks) May 7 - June 3
STEP 7: Assemble the dummy (2 weeks ) Jun. 4-Jun. 17
STEP 8: Research submissions; prepare dummy package (1 week) Jun. 18-Jun. 24
STEP 9: Submit (1 week) Jun. 25-Jul. 1
That’s it! Nine easy steps to dummy success. Ready to get started?Sign up in the comments section below and bookmark this site: Step 1 launches Monday, January 9.