KidLitVic 2018 panel on children’s picture book partnerships discussed author and illustrators as being 50/50 creators of the picture book process. Without words there’d be no book. Without illustrations there’d be no book. Illustrations have the potential to sell the book beyond words. Words have the potential to inspire the illustrator beyond belief.
‘It’s like a baton relay.’ Author’s words are passed onto the illustrator who then brings a level of richness to the text… – Anouska Jones EK.
11:30 – 12:30 Panel — The Perfect Picture Book Partnership
Anouska Jones (EK Books), Miriam Rosenbloom (Scribble), Sarah Mumme (Lake Press)
Vision for Book
- Communication is key. Author has a vision for book. Publisher will have a vision too. Their aim is to pair the best illustrator for the book. They have numerous illustrators who will bring a measure of uniqueness to the book.
- When working with publishers, do not be shy to communicate. Do it early-on to avoid miscommunication. Any concerns discuss them.
- Enjoy the picture book partnership process. It takes time from contract to illustrations to publication. Approximate timeline is from 2-3 years. Some illustrators are booked three years ahead. Patience is understanding the process.
- Pinterest board can be helpful for publisher to look at author’s vision early on to know their thoughts — characters, tone, setting etc.,
- They will listen but they have other considerations to consider — viability of project, success of project etc., Know everyone involved love your book. They have a commercial responsibility, copious departments involved eg., accountable to sales, marketing and publicity etc.,. They have a team of people who are professionals in the publishing industry who will consider longevity of book.
Hold your illustration ideas loosely. The publisher usually engages the illustrator. A less known author could be paired with a high profile illustrator or vice versa. This is to give your book the best chance possible in the crowded marketplace. Well-known authors have established long-term, good working relationships with illustrators.
No need to add illustrations or illustration notes (unless critical). The paired Illustrator needs the space to create their own visual interpretation of the story.
The co-creators’ 50/50 process is where author creates the text story and illustrator creates the visual story.
Illustrations are imperative for early picture-book non-readers because their focus is on pictures – not words.
Illustrator creates initial roughs for publisher and author to view and feedback. When authors see illustrations they are usually exquisitely impressed. Publishers are familiar with numerous illustrators’ works from portfolios, at conferences, instagram, who their authors and illustrators follow, plus illustration challenges etc.,
- If you’re considering a special picture book theme book eg., Christmas, Mother’s Day, anniversary of events – 100 year celebration, turtle day – work 2-3+ years out.
Some Illustrator Portfolio Displays