Monday, June 9, 2008

Your Fate Is in My Hands (mwah-ha-ha)

My question, as an aspiring children's book illustrator, is: when you receive a manuscript and get the go-ahead to publish it, are you the one who then searches for an appropriate illustrator with the help of an art director; or is the art director the sole decider of the story's illustrated destiny? (That was a little dramatic, I apologize)
This varies from house to house. Some editors have a great deal of say in the illustrator selection, and pretty much every editor has some say in it. Designers have a voice in this, too, and depending on the editor, the author may even get some say in the decision.
So be nice to everybody. This is good advice generally, but especially so in children's books.

8 comments:

eluper said...

My next novel is about 1934 horseracing in Sartoga. My editor and the art department don't have a lot of access to horseracing images from that time and don't know what anachronisms leap out in contemporary horseracing images.

Hence, they came to me. After all the research I've done and all the connections I've made, I've been able to pony up (pun intended) a bunch of pics that would be appropriate.

Author friends are amazed at my involvement in the process, but I love being in the mix!

Eric Luper

Big Momma Pimpalishisness said...

How about the author? Does the author have any say in an illustrator or a style of illustration that they'd like to see accompany their book?

Andy J Smith illustration said...

It's only recently that I realized that it's not just the art director making these decisions. I think author collaboration can be a good thing in the right circumstance. It's always interesting to hear an editor's take on illustrations. Those comments can be a lot different than the art director's. Maybe less technical and specific, but to the point.

NICE POST!

christine tripp said...

I never mind it when a few people, say the editor ( perhaps the author depending if I have worked on their books before but normally I don't like the author having a say) have imput on the sketch stage. It's when the "commitee" grows to include the people in the office, the kid in the mail room, the editors husband and just anyone walking by... it's then that I want to tear my hair out. When the group totals 3 or more, it becomes a matter of everyone's individual tastes and there is no WAY to please everyone, you could be making changes till dooms day and suddenly the sketch is completely staged and not a bit of YOU is left in the art. I also hate when the AD ends up just being someone to pass all messages and suggestions on to the illustrator and doesn't seem to have an opinion of their own.
Thankfully, this doesn't happen often.

ae said...

After soaking up an editor/AD session it appears that marketing has quite a say in the illustration. Namely, covers. The AD must have done dozens of samples of type, color, photo subject matter etc. (for a novel)while the illustrator made several changes in character size, shape, placement, color, expression...you name it for his pb.

Anonymous said...

Marketing played a huge role in who is illustrating my books. I think as unpublished authors we imagine editors and art directors sifting through stacks of portfolios to find the "perfect" illustrator for our manuscript, but I suspect that the sales and marketing dept. (at some publishers) have a much bigger say than we ever expected.

And I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing (who doesn't want to sell books?). My point is more that this came as a surprise to me and I second what AE is saying.

MO

christine tripp said...

it appears that marketing has quite a say in the illustration.

ae, I heard this at the winter SCBWI conference. The marketing people were talking about just this. Also, they spoke of the very real clout the MAJOR book seller has on the look of the cover. "make it pink, make it purple" etc.
I think I could live with them all having a say on the cover and making changes.... if they all start having an opinion on the interiors, the illustrator is in trouble:)

working illustrator said...

christine tripp said...

"It's when the "commitee" grows to include the people in the office, the kid in the mail room, the editors husband and just anyone walking by... it's then that I want to tear my hair out. When the group totals 3 or more, it becomes a matter of everyone's individual tastes and there is no WAY to please everyone..."

Three times amen, sister.