First off, if you didn’t hire me, no problem! I still hope you will visit my site for helpful information and inspiration!
If I can help in any other way, please feel free to contact me anytime with comments and questions.
But, let’s suppose you did hire me . . .
When I first receive a manuscript, I really like to read it cold without any input. I turn off all distracting noise and get alone
in my studio with just the manuscript, have a little prayer meeting, then see what kind of pictures the text will conjure up
in my mind. This is is actually good for you, too, because you will get a feel for how any new reader will react to your story.
Valuable information for a writer!
Then I go through and figure out where in the text the page breaks should be, make very rough sketches and notes to show what I propose to put on each Spread (2 facing pages). This will tell me how many Spreads there will be in your book. I assemble all of these notes and sketches into a PDF Proof to send to you.
(On the Procedures Page on this site, you can see actual images of all these steps and a simplified outline of this process.)
If you like/don’t like what I’ve done, this is the time to begin swapping ideas and your opportunity to begin giving me input. If you haven’t already done so, this is also the time to give me the physical dimensions of your book. I won’t begin drawing until I have book dimensions. As you can see in the samples at the left, the text and the illustrations have to work together, so I must know the parameters I am working in right from the start.
When the deposit is paid and the dimensions are known, the drawing begins!
This will be a series of line drawings and proofs, progressively getting more and more finished, to get the “look” down on the characters, backgrounds and foregrounds, typefaces and type arrangements. It is also to get every element sized and placed. There will be a few color studies done to make certain coloring is correct on skin, clothing, or particular objects, animals, or people. This is also the time to give me the information I really want from you:
I hope you are getting the idea . . . even if your readers are not aware, these kind of touches will make your book even more special for you. The more I know about your characters, the more real they are to me, and somehow that energy flows through my pencils and onto the paper and the final art will have even more life to it! Who can know how creativity works, but it surely does, and isn’t it fabulous!
The final rendering begins . . . and after weeks of black and white drawings, you will love watching as your book comes alive! If you want a feel for it, check out the Procedures Page and look at the rendering stages of “The Adventures of Snap” by Levidia Daba. Snap and that sea gull were looking pretty good . . . then the brick sidewalk got added . . . wow! The hardest part of illustrating a book is drawing a character 15-30 times in different poses and expressions, different sizes, different settings, different clothes, lightings . . . and have him look like the same character through out. Ain’t brain surgery, but close! Working in colored pencil, I also have to figure out the color “recipies” I need to use. Seven or eight layers of different colors in a particular order on every page just for skin and hair colors! And I found out quicky that if I do a section of a character on a Spread on Monday, then don’t do another Spread with the same character again until Thursday, it’s hard to get the right “feel” to make them look absolutely the same. So I’ve worked out a system where I go through first and and do all the skin, first layer. Then all the skin second layer, etc., until all the skin in the whole book is finished. Then the same on hair, clothing. A car that shows up on 3 Spreads? All done at the same time. Grass and trees? Pattern on wallpaper? All done the same way. A bit tedious, but the end result is a unified book, and not a stack of 13-15 drawings that may or may not look similar.
Remember earlier I mentioned having a little prayer meeting?
Truth is, that little prayer meeting lasts the whole time I am working on your book!
And He guides me through the whole process.
I used to stress over the book covers . . . the cover is extremely important, it’s gotta’ be great! And I would put so much pressure on myself to come up with something so astoundingly brilliant, that any ideas, good or bad would just elude me, Sometimes we have to remember what we used to know, and chose to forget . . .
Now I just don’t even think about it, and wait on Him and He always gives me what He wants me to have. Sometimes it comes early in the process. Sometimes there won’t be a cover until the very end. But it will come . . .
In the words of that great philospher, Douglas Adams . . . DON’T PANIC!!