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When finding illustrators,

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Whether that's through the typical trade publisher finds the artist, or the self-publishing writer finds the artist. How much free reign should the artist generally have?

This is one biggie I've always had trouble with. I don't generally view my work as cartoony, though it might have a manga like feel to it. (I've read manga for years.) So I might envision a realistic manga like look.

But then the illustrator may have a vision that's just as awesome.

I remember P.L. Travers insisting on finding her own artist. But that was a different time.
#1 - June 26, 2014, 09:52 PM
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Unless you are a pretty big name I don't think the author has a lot of say in illustrations. The publisher/art director decides on a look for the project and chooses an illustrator to fit.

If you're self publishing you are the author and the publisher, so you choose the look for the project.

If you're the illustrator, whether traditional or self published, you work with the art director/publisher. Sketches have to be approved and often revisions are requested. With my first book I also sent in a first color of the main character that I was asked to adjust slightly (brighter color for his tie).

So if you want to do a project illustrated in a manga style, that is probably better suited to chapter books and middle grade and graphic novels. Not saying it could never happen for a PB, just less likely. PBs tend to be aimed at a younger audience (and parents/caregivers) and the art reflects that. There would need to be a strong reason to do something in a style not usually suited to PBs.

#2 - June 26, 2014, 11:01 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

The art chosen for trade publications is based on the editor's and publisher's preferences after viewing established illustrators' portfolios. So they already know what style to expect from the illustrator before hiring them. Depending on the publisher, there may be a lot of art direction or almost none. Generally speaking the author will be informed who the illustrator is and possibly sent samples of art in progress.

My experience with self-publishers has been them choosing based on price and speed and not style. Also, in these cases, the person wanted a family member or pet as the main character and micro-managed each and every element of the images. This made my job incredibly difficult and in the end, for me, neither conducive to my best work nor a quality product. There are self-publishers out there who understand the role of an artist to bring their vision to fruition, but it hasn't been my pleasure to be contacted by one.

My suggestion is to do your best possible work. If you are an artist, a trade publisher will pick based your style and needs of the project. If you are a writer going the traditional route, trust the publisher to pick the best possible illustrator to team with your manuscript. Each project is different, each book is different and so are the visions of the people producing the book for publication.

In the mean time find other illustrators with stylistic similarities to your art and see what books they've done.
#3 - June 27, 2014, 06:10 AM
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (PiƱata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)


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