The Art of Making Mood Boards for Your KidLit WIP

Some writers work better with a visual in front of them. I know I do. Mood boards are a great way to help with this.

A mood board is a type of visual presentation or ‘collage’ consisting of images, text, and samples of objects in a composition. It can be based on a set topic or can be any material chosen at random. A mood board can be used to convey a general idea or feeling about a particular topic.

Some great places to look for resources for your mood board include Pinterest, Art Station, and Deviant Art.

Here are some things in your novel that would benefit from making a mood board:

Characters

Your characters all have a particular feel to them. They might have red hair and green eyes, or white hair and black demonic eyes. A mood board helps you keep your descriptions consistent for your characters.

It can also help you dress them. A character’s wardrobe shouldn’t be filled in by the reader, it’s part of your world!

You don’t need to use one image for one character, you can choose their outfit from one picture, their face from another, their hair from another, and so on and so on.

Below, are some images I’ve used for my character inspiration:

On the left, is a picture of a girl with dark brown skin, a purple shirt, natural hair, and electricity in her hands. Most of this image stayed the same while I began writing this character, but her outfit became that of the second picture: a dark tea-length dress over a dress shirt.

My main character is a combination of the middle picture and the third picture, with her face and hairstyle matching the middle image but her hair color and skin tone mirroring the third image.

The point of having a mood board for your characters is to have a lot of images to mix and match from so that you can create something unique to your world.

Worldbuilding

Let’s look at some images together. What kind of world do you think I’m building?

There’s a medieval-looking town, an ethereal forest, a glowing orb down a forgotten path, and a girl blowing light and life into a plant inside a greenhouse.

It’s pretty clear these images belong to a fantastical world. But even more important are the colors coming through these images. One color that permeates all of the images is purple.

If you wanted, you could evoke purple throughout the motifs in your work.

Scene Setting

Setting the scene is just like worldbuilding, albeit on a small scale. And just like with a character mood board, I encourage you to mix and match the things that you like from each scene.

Mood (obviously)

Sometimes, a mood board is just a mood board. Use it to create a collage that matches the mood of your piece. Whether that’s spooky images or bright and cheerful ones is up to you and your world.

When you’re done making your board, put it somewhere you will see it while you write. The whole point is to have this visual ready when you need it to help keep you in the headspace to write your piece.

Originally posted on October 21, 2021 @ 12:00 pm

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Published by J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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