Once the writing, editing and revisions are complete, we have another choice to make regarding our novel. Do we want or need illustrations within the book or just the cover? This decision can be determined by the genre, such as children’s books but also the type of visuals we want to share with our readers.
Dependent on the age group of your children’s books, you may have numerous pictures with minimal text for younger readers or chapter header or facing page illustrations for older readers. For example, my young readers book, Rumble’s First Scare (http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rumbles-first-scare) is mainly pictures, while my chapter book for older readers, Ockleberries to the Rescue (preorder here: http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/) has chapter headers illustrating each particular animal or event within that chapter. I took the decision not to have an illustration drawn of the woodland sprites in the narrative as I would like my young readers to envision the characters themselves. However, I did have the sprites woodland home created for the book cover.
When working with an artist it is best to describe in as much detail as possible the visuals you require. This can be done, either in rough sketches, composite collages or by detailed written descriptions. No matter where your chosen artist may reside, you can communicate your vision. For Rumble’s First Scare, I chose an artist, who lived in Australia (although he was in Canada at the start of the project). With a mulitude of emails, we were able to create Rumble, his yucky pets and his underground home. Matthew McClatchie‘s style beautifully created how I ‘saw’ Rumble.
However, for Ockleberries to the Rescue, I knew I wanted realistic pencil drawings of the animals and that is why I chose J. E. McKnight. His sketches resemble those of Bernie Brown’s type of illustration. Joe was also able to create the book’s cover image by utilizing a computer program. This is in full color and more striking than a pencil sketch. We have to capture our readers eye in the book store after all.
With both artists, I enjoyed the collaboration in creating the ‘look’ I envisaged for these books.
Of course there are numerous options for cover art and interior illustrations with every book. It is up to the author to decide what ‘look’ they require. For my upcoming western romance, Willow Tree Tears (Fall 2015 launch – excerpt here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/) I am thinking of having the image of a barrel on the chapter headers and scene breakers. This will convey the barrel racing theme in the narrative.
What were your illustration requirements for your book(s)?
Did you hire an artist or illustrate yourself?
How did you decide on the image’s and their style?