Storytelling in scary times

  • Kim Walker

Published in 2021, I had the pleasure of illustrating Victoria Batley’s pandemic based nursery story, Why is nursery closed?, as well as designing the layout of the book. Below is a bit of information about the process from concept to publication.

Step 1 - Key elements

Victoria sought a soft, hand drawn style of illustration for her story which I loved creating with Procreate. After winning the style pitch, the first step involved defining the key elements that would need illustrating as well as initial character sketches. It was important to nail details like hair styles and outfits early to save time later on.

Step 2 - Storyboard

Upon refining the key elements, the following step required sketching out the storyboards for each spread. With the narrative based around a young child’s perspective of the pandemic, it was important to lighten the mood with a playful puppy, cheeky covid bug and familiar home environments. The benefit to Victoria for choosing an illustrator and designer was that she was able to visualise draft layouts that included text placement .

Step 3 - The details

The storyboard stage went through a few rounds of development and included refinement of the colour scheme and backgrounds. The next step involved producing the final illustrations and choosing the right font for the copy.

Step 4 - Book layout

With the illustrations and copy ready, I moved onto the overall book layout, including the covers and information pages. Victoria was presented with options throughout the process before signing off on the final print ready artwork.