The Art and Craft of Creating Picture Books
Instructor: Tracy Mack
Instructor: Marijka Kostiw
Wednesday, July 15, 2020   -   Tuesday, July 28, 2020


Picture books are a perfect art form where the whole is larger than the sum of its parts. Concise text and illustrations weave and blend to create a universe in just thirty-two pages!

Have you ever dreamed of writing or illustrating a picture book? Are you a picture book creator looking to improve your craft or find new ways to tell a story? Whether you write, illustrate, or do both, this class is for you! Team taught by two longtime publishing professionals—an editor and an art director—who have collaborated on more than 100 books over the past twenty-eight years, the course takes a deep dive into the art and craft of creating picture books and will provide insight and insider information on the publishing process as well as tips for how to get published.

Together we will explore three distinct picture book forms: narrative fiction, narrative nonfiction, and concept or thematic books. We will deconstruct the frameworks for each form and examine the basic tenets of character, voice, point of view, theme, tone, and visual storytelling. You can choose to focus on one form or try your hand at all three. At the end of our time together, the goal is for you to have a manuscript and/or book dummy ready to submit!




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Tracy Mack is Vice President and Publisher at Scholastic Press, where she has worked for the past twenty-eight years. She edits picture books, middle-grade fiction, and narrative nonfiction for young readers, as well as, selectively, board books and beginning readers. Some of the most notable titles she has edited include Brian’s Selznick’s #1 New York Times bestsellers Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which won the 2008 Caldecott Medal and was adapted into Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning movie Hugo; Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Newbery Honor Book, Echo, and her Pura Belpre Award winners Esperanza Rising and The Dreamer, illustrated by Peter Sís; What To Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, a Sibert Honor Book and a Boston-Globe Horn Book Honor Book; and Black Cat by Christopher Myers, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Recent acclaimed picture books she has edited include Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko; Robinson by Peter Sís; The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez; The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach; and Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell, illustrated by Ana Ramírez González.

Tracy has also written two novels, Drawing Lessons and Birdland; as well as a middle-grade mystery series, Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, co-authored with her husband, Michael Citrin; and a board book series, Les Petits Fairytales, under the pen name Trixie Belle. Tracy lives with her husband and their three children in western Massachusetts.




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Marijka Kostiw is Art Director and Associate to the Creative Director in the Scholastic Trade Book Division, working across several imprints. Since 1991, she has art directed and designed more than 500 books, which include picture books, chapter books, board books, beginning readers, and middle grade novels, both fiction and nonfiction. Books she designed have been awarded Caldecott Honors, Newbery Honors, Pura Belpre Medals and Honors, Coretta Scott King Medals and Honors, New York Times Best Illustrated Books, and Society of Illustrators Gold Medals. They have been New York Times bestsellers, and collectively received well over a 100 starred reviews. Picture books she designed have yearly been selected for the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show. Additional honors include the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the New-York Historical Society Award, 50 Books/50 Covers AIGA distinctions, and numerous medals from the New York Book Industry Guild at the Annual New York Book Show. She has spoken and judged for several chapters of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conferences around the country. She is currently focusing primarily on designing and art directing picture books.

Marijka has worked with many award-winning and emerging artists (and authors) such as Pete Oswald, Brian Floca, Edwin Fotheringham, Pascal Lemaître, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, Dan Santat, Kadir Nelson, Henry Cole, Ana Juan, Selina Alko, Ross Burach, Sonia Sánchez, Ana Ramírez González, Jim LaMarche, Chuck Groenink, Kenard Pak and many more. A lifelong New Yorker, Marijka lives with her partner, the artist Marc Tauss, in Red Hook, Brooklyn.