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Tammy Yee, Children's Book Author And Illustrator
Children's Book Author & Illustrator
Just For Kids Stories that reflect the natural beauty and aloha of Hawaii
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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to make a book?

That all depends. I usually have 10 to 15 concepts on my computer at any given time, and some of them take longer to mature into manuscripts than others. It's difficult for me to predict which one will take form first. Sometimes I work and work at a story and it just doesn't come together the way that I would like, so I put it aside for six months or more before picking it up again. Some ideas just scream to be realized, and I can finish the manuscript, from conceptualization, through numerous revisions, to submission in 6 weeks. I usually put the manuscript aside for a few days between revisions so that I can edit more objectively.

From there, I move on to making character sketches (sometimes I'll do the character sketches first if it will help me along with the writing). I sometimes prepare a dummy for submission, first by creating a storyboard. A storyboard consists of thumbnail sketches plotting out the 32 pages of the picture book. Then I create the dummy, which is a small facsimile of what the book will look like (imagine taking 4 letter-sized papers, cutting them in half, then folding them over to make a 32-paged booklet).

After the manuscript is accepted, it's time to move on to the artwork. Conceptualization is fun. Writing and storyboarding are liberating and oftentimes, agonizing. Painting is quiet and methodical. There's a lot of sketching and re-sketching, using tracing paper and lightboxes to help me configure a composition. Finishing 32 pages of artwork, plus a cover, can take me 3 months. I use watercolor, water-soluble pencils and pen on hot or cold pressed watercolor block. Packaging 3 months of finished artwork and sending it off is always a little stressful.

Then it takes a couple of months, sometimes more, for the publisher to finish the product. So I guess, not counting conceptualization, it can take a year to a year and a half to make a picture book.

Good luck!

2007 Tammy Yee. All rights reserved.

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