Art is all about communication.
We even say it … when we particularly like a painting or a piece of music, we say it moves us, or it speaks to us.
When we think of storytelling, we think of written or orally delivered narratives. A written-out narrative can naturally be more detailed and in-depth than a painting depicting a single scene, but the painting can definitely cause the viewer’s mind to “fill in the blanks”. And the colors and composition of the painting can set the tone and the mood of the story.
So here’s a clever idea … let’s write down the story, and get an artist to paint scenes from the story … that’s how we end up with a picture book!
(We could add some music and either live actors or animation, and end up with a movie, too … but that’s another blog for another day …)
So now our self-published storyteller has a new problem … finding an artist. Some self-published authors are artists, too, and they illustrate their own stories, but the vast majority are not, and they find themselves faced with the daunting task of finding and hiring an illustrator.
To get you started, I’ve got a couple of articles covering this here on this site: Finding An Illustrator and Matching Words and Pictures, so I won’t just repeat what’s already there. I’d also suggest searching out others who have done what you’re doing to see how it went with them. It’s so helpful to talk to someone who’s been there and done that, and most authors and artists are more than happy to share their experiences with other authors and artists.
But I would like to take this opportunity to prepare you … you are going to have so much fun when you begin collaborating with another creative!
No matter if you are the author or the artist, creating is a very isolating task. To get feedback from another creative and work with them during the process is priceless.
It’s so helpful for the author to see how another creative will handle their work. Most authors find it thrilling to see their story come to life in the illustrations … to see how another creative “interprets” their narrative. Really good illustrators will also add the touches that enhance and expand on the narrative in ways that the author didn’t expect.
It’s helpful for the artist also … to get feedback all through the process to see if they are interpreting the story correctly. The illustrations need to match visually what the narrative says with words. “Enhancing and expanding” doesn’t mean altering … the art should first of all reflect accurately what the narrative states. Often it’s not what’s written, it’s how what’s written is read, so pay attention, artists! Make sure you understand what’s stated in the text!
Both the author’s and the artist’s name will be on the cover, so it’s in the best interest of both to do the best work they can do. Once you are holding that finished book in your hands, you will suddenly feel like it was all worth your while … even if it was the hardest thing you might have ever done!