Tuesday, December 17, 2013




As I work on my picture book manuscript, I can see the pictures clearly in my head. I can visualize each page and I am full of ideas for funny little details the illustrator could add. I am dying to make notes in the margins for the illustrator because I know how this book should look.


Unfortunately not.

My job is the words. I have to trust the illustrator to do his job which is the pictures.

I admit I was dismayed to read the following list of Don'ts in The Business of Writing for Children by Aaron Shepherd:

Do not find an illustrator on your own.

Do not send sketches or a dummy (mock-up of a book) or show page turns.

Do not write notes describing illustrations - unless an essential element cannot be described in your text.

The problem is, I know what I want the pictures to look like.  It's going to be hard to let someone else make those decisions.

But that is exactly what a picture book writer must do unless you illustrate your own books. Trust the illustrator. Allow him his own opportunities for creativity. You wouldn't want someone to tell you what words to use.

The end result may not match the pictures in your head.   It may be even better!  I have a friend who visualized her characters as people and the illustrator turned  them into animals - it turned out to be a charming book that everyone was happy with.

 Ann Whitford Paul in Writing Picture Books says "Ironically, while we must write with a visual image in our mind, we must eventually let that image go."

Whose story is it? Both of yours. 





No comments:

Post a Comment