Monday, 11 May 2020

Don't Be Afraid to DOODLE: Fresh Inspiration for Marketing & Craft • by Natascha Biebow



To gain a fresh look at my craft, I’ve been experimenting with something that might seem counter-intuitive to writers – DOODLING.


Young children are instinctively visually literate long before they can read. It’s only later, when they are a bit older, that children and then adults begin to doubt their ability to draw and convey messaging through pictures. What if, I asked myself, I were to return to the DOODLE in an attempt to take a FRESH LOOK at things?



Rather than getting bogged down with the w-o-r-d-s, WHAT IF I released myself from the strictly written form, picked up a crayon and DOODLED alongside my words?

The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown
In an interview for PRINT magazine, author Sunni Brown says that by creating a doodle, "we are learning to not only sift through grains of content to find the meaningful pieces but we are also bringing those pieces to life by letting them live in multiple forms: a word, an image, color, a font, a shape".

So, as a children's book author, how could I practically apply the DOODLE, I wondered? 



DOODLING is a way to free you up to think outside the box – or even to throw away the box completely – so that you can come up with a solution to that plot problem, dream up that the missing ending, or even to come up with a whole new book idea. It can also be a way to get you unstuck and drum up new ideas for the strategy of being a working author.



I decided to have a go.



One of the most challenging aspects about creating picture books is digging deep for a unique story that will hook in and grab young readers, then making it pacey and concise.  Starting with Debbie Ohi’s helpful picture book page plan, I doodled the trajectory of a picture book plot:



Next, one could try this out on an actual picture book mentor text and eventually on your own work in progress. 
I tried it out on Lizzie Finlay's wonderful new book The (Ferocious) Chocolate Wolf:




From The (Ferocious) Chocolate Wolf by Lizzie Finlay

It’s incredibly helpful to be able to SEE your picture book (and its possible flaws) if you can doodle map it out like this.

Then I decided to see if I could doodle some ideas for marketing, post publication, one year on: 






After I got to this point, I realized I needed to keep going and think about how I could re-frame my MESSAGE in a new way. So I decided to try to DOODLE brainstorm about two topics and themes related to my book, THE CRAYON MAN: DRAWING and NATURE.






I realized that there are many jobs that involve DRAWING. Could some of these PEOPLE be book-buyers interested in my book's message? Or could I use this idea to create new content? I decided to brainstorm on a new page:


If I keep going, I hope to be able to relate these ideas back to my marketing plan and create new CONTENT to engage and CONNECT with new people, who might be interested in drawing and nature.


I’ve really enjoyed flexing my creative muscles by DOODLING with coloured crayons. It's taken me to cool new and unexpected places. 

Doodling is a really cool TOOL. How can you start? Allow yourself some TIME and SPACE, a notebook or some sheets of paper, some pens, pencils and crayons. Then, choose a starting point and start. Really LISTEN . . . and HAVE FUN! Your drawings and icons don't have to be artistic. Your DOODLES can be just for you! 



I was inspired to learn about doodling from experts such as Sunni Brown and Dave Gray

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Natascha Biebow, MBE, Author, Editor and Mentor
 
Natascha is the author of the award-winning The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons, illustrated by Steven Salerno, selected as a best STEM Book, editor of numerous prize-winning children’s books, and Co-Regional Advisor (Co-Chair) of SCBWI British Isles. She is currently writing more non-fiction picture books and a series of young fiction. She runs Blue Elephant Storyshaping, an editing, coaching and mentoring service aimed at empowering writers and illustrators to fine-tune their work pre-submission. She is also Editorial Director for Five Quills. Find her at www.nataschabiebow.com

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