It’s Time to Fly

Kate/ March 5, 2009/ art, birds, children's books, illustration, picture book, sketchbook, Time to Fly

It's Time to Fly: Storyboards

As mentioned here and there over the past year, I have been working on a picture book. My first. It has been a challenge getting these reluctant birds off the ground, but in recent weeks I have made good progress. And hey! I’m excited that the story is, at long last, coming together.

It's Time to Fly: Storyboards

Storyboarding the manuscript has proven more thought-consuming task than I had previously imagined. Where to start a sentence? Where to end it? What happens on the next page? And the next? Where in the story do the page breaks belong? How do I keep my reader turning and turning to find out what happens next? And more importantly: How do I fill an entire book with the same herons and still keep it interesting, different from spread to spread?

It's Time to Fly: Storyboards

I’m not sure I have all the right answers to that right now. I must remind myself that these are thumbnail sketches, not finished masterpieces. It is tempting to go into feather-by-feather detail with each little 2-inch-high drawing. I tend to get lost in minutiae. When I do I must catch myself and force myself to step back into the big picture. A wider, less meticulous marker has come in handy.

It's Time to Fly: Storyboards

This book has become somewhat of a “Kate Garchinsky’s Opus.” I first observed these lanky, prehistoric-looking birds over the summers of 2000-2004 at my ex-husbands’s family’s house in Avalon, New Jersey. Yellow-crowned night herons nested right outside the bedroom windows. I took hundreds of photos with my old-school SLR. I watched and observed several broods hatch, grow and fledge. I wrote the first draft one day in July 2005, shortly before moving to Colorado. It was, at the time, symbolic of the unknown journey that lay before me.

It's Time to Fly: Storyboards

When I arrived in Colorado, the mountains quickly became part of me, and I grew distant from the herons of Avalon–but they never left my mind. As my life here changed, so did my marriage. Eventually I found myself out on my own in the land of snow and pine siskins. I had bought a new computer around that time and during the migration of data from one hard drive to the other, I stumbled an unfamiliar Word document, “Time to fly.doc.” I hadn’t read it in 3 years and until I opened it, had no idea what it was. The story found me exactly when I needed it.

It's Time to Fly: Storyboards

Rereading a year ago, the words had new meaning. When I had written it I was learning to fly away from my birth nest of Pennsylvania. Three years later I was in the process of leaving the nest of my mate. And now a year has past and my life requires that I fly once more. Spring migration has begun. While my current nest has offered comfort and respite through storms and blizzards, I know that it is time. I’ve come full circle, and it is time once again to fly.

It's Time to Fly: Storyboards

While I prepare for my next journey, I’ll post whatever progress I make here. My goal is to have all storyboards and at least one finished watercolor illustration complete for submission before I take wing.

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About Kate

Kate Garchinsky illustrates and writes children’s books and educational media in her studio in the woodlands near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her debut picture book, The Secret Life of the Red Fox, written by acclaimed wildlife author, Laurence Pringle, received a starred review from School Library Journal. Kate Garchinsky received a grant from the Eckelberry Fellowship at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she has been researching and illustrating extinction stories about North American birds such as the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet. Prior to creating children’s books, Kate designed lots of fun things like toys, birdbaths and trail maps. She lives with her husband Brian, Julia and Spencer the cats, and her one-eyed beagle, Maggie May. Kate recently signed on to illustrate two more “Secret Life” narrative non-fiction picture books with Boyds Mills Press—The Secret Life the Little Brown Bat (2018) and The Secret Life of the Skunk (2019). While drawing foxes and bats, Kate also began work on Belle’s Journey, a middle-grade non-fiction chapter book by ornithologist and osprey expert, Rob Bierregaard (Charlesbridge 2018). Get to know more about Kate Garchinsky at http://KateGarchinsky.com (aka PenguinArt.com).