Monique and Alexa Peters are the author and illustrator for the Cooper and Me series of books for kids. Here’s how they create their delightful books.
Step One: Planning
In our planning stage, sometimes we’ll have a session where Alexa illustrates a scene and that sparks a story. Or, it could be that we have a story in mind first. Next, we’ll brainstorm ideas about the story. What are some things that we do on Halloween that we could have Cooper do? What if Bella had a magic wand?
Step Two: Outline
We outline the plot step-by-step. What happens first? Then what? How will it end?
Step Three: Creating First Draft
This is where storyboards come in handy. Alexa will draw a scene and below her sketch we’ll start filling in the pieces. We go through each item on our outline list and determine whether or not we need additional information or data. We might need to find a story or gather research data to back up our main points. We’ll get the information and insert it into the right place. As we review the outline we’ll naturally see things we want to add, change, remove, or move. This is our perfect time to do a little cleaning and organizing.
Step four: Writing/Drawing the First Draft
This is where we take the words and rewrite them in rhyme. Alexa will determine if the sketches need to be changed or added to. We talk through each scene and read the rhymes out loud.
Step five: Editing the First Draft
We read through the entire storyboard several times. Does it flow? Are the points clear? Is it interesting to read? How does it feel? What about the illustrations? Do they fit with the words? What about the expressions on the character’s faces?
We make notes, and either talk through the changes, or write them down. We head back to the drawing board to fine tune both the illustrations and the verses.
Step six: FINISH UP
We send our second draft to a professional editor and Alexa will work with a graphic artist using Adobe In Design.