Picture This by Molly Bang
(Turtleback Books, 2000, 96 pages)
I learned about this book when reading the March/April 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. This particular issue spotlights Illustration and has some great essays by a number of illustrators. Picture This by Molly Bang was referenced as a way to understand what goes in to making an illustration “work.” There’s a lot that has to be considered in order to get the right feeling across to the reader through an illustration. Bang breaks this down step by step in this slim but enlightening text.
Bang demonstrates to the reader how things like layout and color need to be taken into account to set the right tone. That sounds simple, but as she illustrates, there’s a lot that goes into getting the right effect. Using only three colors (and white) and basic shapes it’s pretty impressive how little it takes to change the whole feeling of an image. This book is a great way to understand the power of picture books and how/why they convey the feelings they do. I’m really glad I picked this up – it definitely gives you an appreciation for the talent that goes into creating visual elements in books, whether they’re in picture books for children or in the form of graphic novels aimed at adults.