This year, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators ended the Tomie DePaolo award and replaced it with the Narrative Art Award. The rules are simple- you submit three illustrations that convey a cohesive story in the theme of mystery. You could choose either PB in color or Middle Grade in black and white.
Mystery and science intrigue me, so I chose MG. I’d like to share some of my process here:
First I made numerous thumbnails with different stories and perspectives. I kept thinking about a 12 year old female being the hero. She faces a scientist who (we find out in image 2) is experimenting on animals. She must recover a magic egg and return it to its mother. It has mystical qualities and is quite valuable.
This image asks more questions than it answers, which I think is the point of an illustration. I make sure that it can be interpreted from different perspectives, based on who is looking at it., I also include small details, that if you look carefully, may change the story you bring to the picture.
I follow up the first image with a scene of conflict. I purposely lowered the camera perspective, which makes the image unstable. This technique is appropriate when you want to show action and urgency. We also see the villain from the back, and he is somewhat obscured in darkness. This brings the focal point to the MC running away.
In the last image I show how the story is resolved by egg being returned to its rightful owner. I also include some imagery that lends itself to a more elaborate narrative. These images are not meant to tell the whole story- just a sequenced part of it.
Find out more about How to Use Narrative Art to Tell a Story in my 5 part series. You may also want to check out the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.