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by Casey Girard

My journey to conceiving my own picture book ideas began when I graduated college as an illustrator. I had my portfolio; I was all ready to go find an author in need. When I got to my first conference I was immediately asked, do you write? I was at a loss. I knew I loved illustrating stories but I figured my job was to illustrate other people’s ideas. Seven years later, many more conferences attended, hundreds of children’s books read, numerous illustrations finished, and much time spent being involved in children’s publishing, I have found the stories I want to write.

At the beginning of creating my own stories, I was overwhelmed. My biggest hurdle was observing the plethora of picture books already out there and then realizing that there was room for mine. I started with thinking about how many books I wanted to read. Most people have to-read lists that will never be finished and that’s how they want it. So, add in that there are an infinite number of stories to be told because life changes constantly and revelations about the world are made every minute, new stories are born every single day with readers waiting to read them.

Getting past fears and doubts let me free to accept and explore my ideas. If you are excited by something, don’t be afraid and don’t doubt your ability to make it into a good picture book. Your voice is unique and you will tell your story in a way that connects with someone else. You can never give up on it and you can never give up on yourself. Don’t let fear hold you back. Work on your craft, give the idea you can’t help but write all the love and time it needs to grow into a publishable book, and you will succeed.

Don’t be afraid:

  • To accept your idea
  • To start
  • To change
  • To challenge yourself
  • To tackle the story that you love no matter how crazy you think it will seem to others
  • To ask for help
  • That your idea isn’t worth it

If you love your idea and believe in it as a picture book others will, too.

Casey Girard is a freelance illustrator/designer. She has worked with two authors, illustrating their self-published books, NATTY & RINGO and I LOVE YOU EVERY SECOND. She recently became the Illustrator Coordinator for the New England SCBWI. She recently co-founded the blog Picture This, a site all things picture book art, links, quotes, videos, articles, news, events and more. Stop by for some inspiration. To see more of her work visit her blog –, where she runs two weekly themed posts: Matt’s Choice and Wednesday Animal. You can also find her on Twitter, @CaseyGirard.

Casey is giving away three letters of your choice from her illustrated alphabet. Only the X isn’t available. Leave a comment to enter and a winner will be randomly selected one week from today.

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