I taught three classes: How to make a morning book, detailed below; ekphrasis writing, inspired by children’s artwork; and, ‘don’t be a dummy, make a dummy’ – why non-illustrator picture book writers need to make physical dummies of their manuscripts before they go out.
The morning book class was such a hit, I’m going to share how to make one here. I made my first book with my friend, Arni Adler, who learned how to make one from artist/teacher, Darwin Nordin.
What’s so great about a ‘morning book’ anyway? Making one is therapeutic and creative. It stirs up introspection and expression. It heightens inner and outer awareness, calms and centers you. You draw from your dreams (real or imagined), experiences and memories. And when you are done, you hold a book in your hands. Your book of the day.
How to Make A Morning Book:
1. You can use any size paper, but I like to use 12 x 18-inch or thereabouts.
2. Different widths of black sharpies, crayons, colored pencils or pens. Favorite writing pen. Glitter, gluestick, magazines to cut up. Scissors. Whatever you like.
3. With your sharpies, scribble all over the paper, like you see the Whidbey writers doing in the photo to the left. Any kind of lines, squiggles, splotches or patterns. Or no pattern. Draw right off the page in every direction.
4. Fold your book. Click here for instructions (thank you, Lauren Stringer, for this easy to follow guide). Fold your paper back and forth on every new crease. The more you fold it, the better your book will hold its shape. When you get to the last fold, fold it this way and that until you see what looks like the cover, an appealing place to start. Maybe it’s the lines on the page that tell you, start here, or maybe it’s just the best fold for the book. When you get to this stage, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
5. In pencil or light pen on the back, write the date. Write a short note about what’s going on that day – where you are, who you’re with, what happened, what you ate or perhaps, drank.
6. Start on the cover and begin to doodle and draw, color and write. Let the images talk to you, tell their story – your story. When you feel like turning to the next page, do that. Continue writing and drawing. Turn the page, continue. The poignancy of this exercise is you never know what’s going to appear, or how you will feel while you’re working.
Let the book show begin!