Have you ever wondered how the illustrations are chosen for a picture book? I admit neither did I until I wrote one. When I first wrote Monster needs A Costume, I had an idea of what monster would look like but I can’t draw to save my life. So I was a bit worried what this book was going to look like when an artist on the other side of the country, whom I never talked to, got to illustrating. People ask me, “Do you have a say in what the illustrations are going to look like?” And the answer to that is no but yes.
Does the publisher send me pictures of what the Monster is going to look like, as I sit I my lounge chair, wearing a corduroy jacket with the leather patches on the elbows, pipe in one hand and a brandy snifter in the other; as I judge harshly whether or not the pictures are garbage or acceptable? Not quite. Nor do I get to demand my limo be set at exactly 72 degrees when I get picked up at the airport for appearances. Nor do I get a limo when I get picked up at the airport. And nor do I get picked up at the airport. What I am trying to say is, I really don’t have much say in the matter. But that’s fine because the story that I wrote is my say in the matter. I purposely left things to the imagination of the illustrator because I want their creativity to be apart of the book. When there is room for the illustrator to be creative, you have a happy illustrator, and when you have a happy illustrator you get really cool illustrations.
Now I will say my publisher did include me when they narrowed down who the illustrator was going to be and after they narrowed down what the Monster was going to look like. Which is fairly unusual especially for a first time published writer. They also gave me a vote on which color the Monster was going to be. Now whether or not my vote was taken into account I’m not sure but the one I chose is the one in the book. So It’s good to know we were all on the same page.
Check out this article on how illustrations evolve during the picture book writing process. Very cool!