What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I begin by taking a look at the manuscript to make sure it is written according to high publishing standards. I do not gamble with my reputation by illustrating poorly written literature. If I feel that the manuscript is suitable, then I open up conversation with the writer/client to discuss all the wonderful possibilities!
Generally, the process is simple. I sketch out one page at a time. With each page, the client has the opportunity to request three minor changes at no additional charge.
When the final sketch is approved by the client, color is added and the illustration is complete. I then send the client a copy of the final illustration and we move on to the next page and repeat the process until all pages are done and the book is ready for assembly.
The author/client is involved in each and every illustration, and no illustration goes through to publication without his/her approval!
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have studied and created art since I was a very young child. Through the years I made it my business to practice at every type of art medium I could get my hands on, resulting in awards, professional publications, and finally a career as a successful freelance artist.
In 2003 I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and began working alongside professional children's lit illustrators on a daily basis. With their help and expertise, my talent for illustrating the written word grew rapidly.
I can now proudly say that I have illustrated and published eight children's Picture Books, two children's Chapter Books, and illustrated several award-winning book covers. In addition, I have been a featured illustrator in several published children's magazines.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
It is impossible to standardize children's book illustration because the need(s) for each book project is different.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I have always lived and breathed art. Doing it professionally was just a natural progression.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I am primarily a children's book illustrator, but I have also created and sold art for novel book covers, website banners, web pages, greeting cards, t-shirts, brochures, advertisements, magazines and much more.
If you are looking to self-publish your picture book, chapter book, or mid-grade novel, and you have never done so before, you will need an illustrator who has worked with self-publishers before. That would be ME!
The person you hire should know how to take your manuscript, and break it down into the proper amount of pages, with page breaks that will entice your readers to keep turning the pages! That person would be ME!
It's smart to hire someone who has successfully created several children's books from start to finish, and seen them published and available for purchase by the general public. That "someone" would be ME!
Your illustrator should be able to provide you with a legally binding, mutually beneficial contract, so that you don't have to worry over legalities and you will have assurance that the job will be completed. I always provide such contracts for my clients.
Be sure your illustrator is well-versed on layered illustrations, as most printing companies require vector files for printing. I can help you with that, and with finding an affordable printing company!
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
Recently I illustrated a 32-page picture book entitled, "When Mommy Got Cancer-Creating JOY Together", for a traditional publishing company by the name of Hibiscus Publishing. It was release for purchasing in 2014.
The reason why I am so very proud of this book, is because it takes a very difficult-to-discuss subject (the death of a parent) and carefully, gently and lovingly allows the reader to move through all the turbulent emotions a child may feel when such a devastating tragedy occurs. In the end, there is ultimately acceptance, and the child's ability to move on through fond memories.
The author herself, Karen Garcia, passed away before the book could be completed. The publisher agreed to publish it (posthumously) for her anyway, with the largest portion of the proceeds to be put in Trust for her very young child. The remainder will fund cancer research in Karen's name.
The events which brought me to the project were very serendipitous. Though I had never seen the characters in the manuscript, the samples I provided to win the assignment bore an uncanny resemblance to them.
Throughout the process of illustrating the book, it seemed that Karen directed every brush stroke. I unknowingly added items throughout the pages that were part of Karen's real-life story, only to discover later their true meaning.
Karen seemed to be with us always, at every meeting, directing every outcome each step of the way. Even now as we begin the process of promoting this little gem of a book, everyone involved feels her presence and the JOY it has brought us is astounding!
It is our sincere wish (as it was Karen's) that this book will help many children and parents faced with the realities of cancer. May they find JOY, hope and healing in it's message.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
There are many things you should know before you begin looking for a children's book illustrator for your book, for example:
*What company will be printing your book and what type of illustration files do they accept?
Each illustrator works differently to create their work. You will need to be sure they can create the files that are necessary for your printing company, otherwise, you could be paying for illustrations that you can't even use!
*What size will your book be?
It is important to decide this ahead of time, as it will be one of the first questions asked by your illustrator, and it's your decision to make.
*How many illustrated pages will you need? Will you be needing a special illustration for the cover, or will you be using an interior page on the cover as well?
In order to get an accurate price quote, your prospective illustrator needs to know how many illustrations are required to complete the job. You should expect to pay a higher price for a specialized cover that has the ability to attract buyers.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
1.) How important is your project and what is it worth to you? If you're not 100% in, pro's will immediately pick up on that lack of enthusiasm. If you are not dedicated to the success of your project, pro's know that you are less likely to pay them what they're work is worth.
2.) What is a REALISTIC time frame for the completion of your project? Often, clients are unaware of the time needed to get PROFESSIONAL results. If you are concerned about the quality of the finished product, then you must give your pro a reasonable time frame in which to dedicate their talent.
3.) Exactly WHAT do you need from your professional? If you are looking for an illustrator, what do you need to have illustrated? Is it a children's book? A webpage? A business logo? Be precise and the right pro's for the job will respond.
4.) Will you need additional services from your professional? Often clients hire an illustrator to illustrate their book, but they also need the pro to upload the illustrations to the printer for them. Sometimes authors/clients are not able to assemble the illustrations in order to prepare them for publication. If you think that you will need additional services, be prepared to stretch your budget! Everything your pro does for you is worth something for his/her time and talent.