Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Keeping It In The Family - Lynne Garner

Recently my niece called me and asked if I'd be willing to be a sounding board for her final major project (a picture book) at University. Although students were permitted to illustrate a well-known story, she'd decided to write and illustrate her own picture book. Being the helpful aunt, I agreed.

Our first step was for me to read her manuscript. It's a really sweet story and well written. However I made a few suggestions for tweaking. Well what did she expect? She had sent her manuscript to a creative writing teacher.

Her main character Tumo the baby elephant 

We set aside an afternoon for her to come over. She arrived with several A3 sketchbooks full of ideas. We soon realised we had some hard decisions to make. What to keep? What to tweak? What to kill?

It was decided the best course of action was to  pick the ideas we both liked and stitch these together. Basically she started with page one and worked a page at a time. 

When spreads 11 and 12 were reached that magic light bulb moment happened. She'd come up with such a lovely image for spread 11 that it cried out to become the final spread. So with a tweak in the wording, version one was complete with its new ending. 

Some of my nieces quick sketches

I've yet to see the completed story but I'm sure it will be worth the wait. I really enjoyed the process and hope perhaps once she's graduated we'll get the opportunity to work together. My words supported by her wonderful pictures, a real family affair.

Lynne Garner

Editors: If you're looking for a new writer/illustrator please contact me direct at and I'll put you in contact with my niece. It would be lovely to have another writer in the family!      

I teach two distance learning courses via Women On Writing which start 6th July - How To Write A Picture Book and Five Picture Books In Five Weeks.   


Pippa Goodhart said...

What a sweet elephant! It amazes me how two black dots for eyes can become so very expressive in the hands of an artist. Good luck to the niece!

Moira Butterfield said...

I like your niece's use of perspective. In itself it is a visual joke, and makes the layout very lively. She should do well!

Jane Clarke said...

Adorable and intriguing pics, especially the last one!

Abie Longstaff said...

Lovely thumbnails! Your niece has a good eye for physical comedy in her work.

Paeony Lewis said...

Adore the simple grey elephant who's so full of character. Good luck!

malachy doyle said...

Hey - she's good! I really like the character, the humour, the movement...