Working with an Illustrator

Splashes of Colorful Ink Vector Art 

 

Writing my first children’s book meant having illustrations. There is no doubt about my inability to draw. My cats look the same as I was taught to draw them in kindergarten. Not an ounce of improvement toward the likelihood that someone might recognize what it is supposed to be. Thus, my search for an illustrator began. Creating books can get expensive when you pay everyone to do something for you. We are trying to learn to do as much of the process as we can because it is harder for Indy writers to sell books. As I said, I can’t draw.Many of us are on very limited incomes.

My search for an illustrator was very short since I knew a few artistic souls and had been following some of them on Facebook. I only had to approach one and she was agreeable and reasonable and exactly what I needed.

Things to think about when you are considering hiring an illustrator. You want to know that you both are willing to set the same timeline. If you wish to get the book for sale at a specific time, you need to be agreed as to what that timeline or finish date looks like for you both. We, as authors, must not be unreasonable or inflexible since your illustrator or artist may have many more projects ahead of yours. You may both have to give a little to accommodate everyone’s schedule and anticipated time to complete the work.

If you approach someone to do your illustrations, you should check their previous projects, so you can see a sample of their work. I had seen some of this illustrator’s work previously so already knew she had talent. She, however, had never done book illustrations in the past, but then I had never written a children’s book before or worked with an illustrator. We agreed to learn the process as we worked together and went on.

After establishing the agreement as to what you want or need and their willingness to do the job you asked them to do at the price you both settled on, you need to see if your vision is their vision. It is not often the fact that the price is as much as they deserve, but many of us are working with small budgets.

You need to be able to covey what you want so that they will understand what they need to give you. This was a wonderful experience for us. I had not finished the final draft when she took on the job, so I sent her what I thought we needed for each illustration. A paragraph description of what each picture should show. Even though you wrote the book, your illustrator should be given control of the drawings and let them show you their interpretation of what it should look like. Something I read talks about allowing the writer to make a couple minor changes, but if you are ‘on the same page’ so to speak this should be unnecessary.

A super important element of this selection of illustrator should be a happy working relationship. We did this whole project online through texts and emails and never met each other. I am hoping to remedy that and to meet in person someday.

Your illustrator should have the following qualities: patience with you because you are new to each other, a detail – oriented mind, be an excellent listener, a person that doesn’t get too excited because life is unpredictable and a person you could have a long- term relationship with and I found exactly that person. Part of me does not want to share, but that would be selfish.

 

I highly recommend Janice Ducrepont and would suggest you contact her for help with your next project.

E-mail Janice here-paintwrangler@gmail.com

Once the book is published I will replace the drawing above with an illustration from my book.

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