The illustrations – or bringing the story to life! 😊
💚 Children’s picture books are anywhere up to 800 or so words in length. And they generally need to include a number of pages that is a multiple of 4️⃣. Mine have 16.
💚 I break down the text into appropriate sections for each page in the story. 📄 It’s important to remember that where possible each page should end on a sentence that entices the reader to keep on reading. Children are just like adults. They love a page turner!
💚 I then provide the illustrator with the original picture I’ve found online that matches the image I have in my head of the main character(s) 🦘🐨🐝🐧🐦🐢🦔. I also provide a detailed description of the image I envisage in my mind for each illustration. A detailed brief is generally better for an illustrator to work with than a more general, ambiguous one.
💚 The illustrator goes away and uses the image of the main character(s), and the story itself, to design the main character(s). She shows how they will look from various different perspectives (Pic 1 below).
I then approve these or we make tweaks. For example, with Kati the kangaroo, I asked for little lines to be added to her to give the effect of hair 🦘(Pic 2 below).
💚 Once the characters are right, the illustrator works on the draft illustration to accompany each page – without colour. Just in black and white. There is a huge amount of work involved because the detail in children’s illustrations is everything. Once I see the draft illustration 👀, I am able to feed back 💬 and let the illustrator know if there are any changes I think would be beneficial.
With Bella Bee 🐝, I had envisaged the dilapidated house and garden area in the story slightly differently 🏠🏡 (Pics 3 and 4 below).
So I explained what I was thinking and the illustrator worked her magic to make the amendments.
💚The illustrator and I to and fro in this way for quite a while, because once the illustration is ‘right’, somehow I just know. And then we can move on.
💚 When the illustrator and I are happy with all of the draft illustrations ☑️, she heads off to add colour to them. 🖍 I check this too and together we work until the colours feel right as well.
💚 I then take the book with the illustrations and trial it with more children 👧🧒👦. Their feedback 💭 on the illustrations is vital. They notice things that adults (including me!) don’t 🤓, and which will make the story more comprehensible for them. Further tweaks are then made if needed.
💚 Once the illustrator, children and I are all happy with the illustrations ✔️, off the books go to be printed!