Molly Idle is the Caldecott-honor winning author and illustrator of Flora and the Flamingo.
She talked about the collaborative work that bookmaking is, and how she uses stage and improvisation techniques to boost her personality.
Keeping an open mind is the key to successful collaboration, she says.
In improv, there's a game called "Yes, and."
The first player kicks out an opening line. For example, "Did you remember to clean out the cat barf from Uncle Billy's car?"
Your job as a player is to accept that and add AND, she says. So you'd reply, "I did remember, and I think the smell is going to linger for quite some time."
"It sounds so simple, but it is so easy to do just the opposite and block," she says. "We are born to 'Yes.' We are born instinctively to be creative. To express our boundaries both real and imaginary."
She uses stage techniques a lot in her work. When she's figuring out how to lay out characters, she thinks about and experiments with many things ... putting characters center stage, even not having them react at all (which is the second-most powerful thing you can do on stage).
She encouraged us to push out of our comfort zones and keep many choices as possibilities. "It's the only way to come up with new ideas."
We have to ask ourselves, "How can I push my creative comfort zone out?"
The answer? You have to know your bit. This means know your lines. To really know a line is to know why you say it. You need to know the line before that. And the line before that. And why you're in the scene in the first place.
"You have to know the whole play to know your bit. If you know the whole play, you can jump in and help," she says. 'You know why you're supposed to be there."
Molly knows the editor's job. She knows the art director's job. She knows the designer's bit too—and the printer's. This means that in the end, the book will be a better book.
Molly Idle's website
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