Nancy Elizabeth Wallace award winning children's books author illustrator

Creating My Books

Where do my ideas come from?
I have LOTS of ideas for books.
I usually begin a book with
an idea. A single word
can get me started:

BUT then I worry, how will I ever write and illustrate this book???!!!

I need to think about the idea!
The longest thinking time for a book was a year and a half,
 the shortest was 2 days.

I don’t have a science background, so when I am working
on a science book like Pumpkin Day! or Rocks! Rock! Rocks!
or Shells! Shells! Shells!   or Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!
I do a LOT of research at the library.
It helps me to collect what I am writing about,
 see them, and to touch them.
This sparks wonder, curiosity, questions, and
a better understanding through really LOOKING.

Getting started: THE THUMBNAIL SKETCH!!!!
I draw tiny rectangles on a sheet of paper.  Each rectangle is for 2 pages in the book.


Once I begin to “see and feel” the whole, it’s a huge relief to set something down:
line drawings, ideas, words, phrases. The thumbnail sketch allows me to see the book idea on one or two pages. (I work really messy!) I can make notes, add to my sketches, change things, take things out, rearrange things before I start drawing full-scale drawings and writing the text. 

Click here - to create a thumbnail sketch

Creating Characters:

I have gotten to know Buddy and Minna pretty well. It makes it interesting to have my characters have different personalities, for the reader AND for me when I am writing and illustrating.


Illustrations help create Buddy.
Buddy is very curious.
Buddy likes to learn by looking.
Buddy likes to tell jokes
(I make up most of Buddy’s jokes.)
“What do shells like to sing in the winter when it’s snowing?”
 “Jingle shells, jingle shells
jingle all the way!”

Buddy also says, “I’m hungry.
Let’s eat!” a lot!

Buddy books:
Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!
Shells! Shells! Shells!
Seeds! Seeds! Seeds!
Rocks! Rocks! Rocks

Click here - to create puppet characters


 Illustrations help create Minna.
Minna and her family are thoughtful.
Minna likes to read.
(Look for books in the Minna books)
 Minna is creative
 Minna’s favorite teacher is Mrs.Bloom

Minna says,“I’m still thinking” a lot!

Minna books:
Apples! Apples! Apples!
Recycle Every Day!
The Valentine Express
The Kindness Quilt
Fly, Monarch! Fly!

Creating my illustrations:

I use Origami paper. The colors are so beautiful!

I use scherenschnitt scissors

glue stick



<<<<<<<  VERY,

 AND I use found paper which is paper I FIND!

Click here - to find recycled paper in a picture

Click here – to find out what you need to create a piece of cut paper art


A BIG part of my books
is encouraging children and adults
to really LOOK to SEE and to WONDER!

Click here –for instructions
to make a viewing frame

Making my books the best they can be:

My editor and the art director help me all through the process to make each book the best it can
be. My husband Peter helps me by reading my stories and looking at the art.  I am in writing
groups with other children’s book authors and illustrators.  We  “peer edit” for each other.
The art designer brings her skills to my books too.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and worried that I won’t be able to do all of the art for a book
by the deadline (the art takes many months of working every day).  But, if I work on one page
at a time, and do a little bit and a little bit,  day by day,  week by week,  page by page, 
it gets done.

Thank you for visiting my web-site! 
I hope you will Read! Read! Read!  Create! Have fun!  and Remember to Recycle!

Your friend,

Nancy Elizabeth Wallace


© Nancy Elizabeth Wallace 2012. All rights reserved