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Illustrating / Re: Paper or Digital?
« Last post by Brian Garrison on September 12, 2018, 03:13 PM »
I am a writer, but use digital tools for basic design and editing. As an alternative to the Adobe's software package, there are free, open source versions. They have been around long enough that they can do a lot of fancy tricks (from my non-illustrator perspective) and are available for most systems (Windows, Mac, Linux). You can export images as most file-types, but the editing file itself will not be compatible with Adobe (e.g., if you are collaborating with another person who is using photoshop).

I haven't actually used any of the Adobe software, so I can't do a direct comparison of what may be missing or what tools are clunky. But I'm happy to answer questions.

For pixel-based photo editing, I use GIMP (GNU image manipulation program):

Here is a list, with descriptions, for some of the others:

And finally, a useful website to help find software for any number of purposes:
Magazines & Ezines / Re: Highlights will be back open to submissions 9/17/18
« Last post by dkshumaker on September 12, 2018, 02:17 PM »
Yes, thanks for the update!
Magazines & Ezines / Re: Highlights will be back open to submissions 9/17/18
« Last post by Ev on September 12, 2018, 02:07 PM »
Thanks for the update, Tracy!
Magazines & Ezines / Highlights will be back open to submissions 9/17/18
« Last post by tracy-vonder-brink on September 12, 2018, 02:06 PM »
Highlights has updated its Submittable page, and they'll be back open for submissions starting 9/17/18. They have changed the submissions procedures: they're listing their current needs for fiction and have gone to a query system for nonfiction. Their needs will be updated monthly. You can check out their Submittable page for specifics, at Happy submitting!

Off Topic Board / Re: Hurricane Florence
« Last post by Barbara Etlin on September 12, 2018, 11:40 AM »
Saw the photo from the space station. That's scary stuff! Stay safe, everyone! And let us know you're okay when you can do so.
Illustrating / Re: Paper or Digital?
« Last post by Tadghthepom on September 12, 2018, 11:16 AM »
I work digitally, and while I would agree that the initial costs are prohibitive, at least when you have the stuff you then don't have costs of paints, brushes, paper and whatnot. The costs are coming down too. I have never worked on a cintiq, but not use an ipad pro paired with my computer through an app called 'astropad'. I started using it as a backup option but now it is what I use every day- it's super mobile, wireless and represents the colours really well on the screen, with no paralax and little lag. Procreate is great too, although it doesn't have a CMYK option, which is a problem.
Off Topic Board / Re: Hurricane Florence
« Last post by AnnH on September 12, 2018, 08:18 AM »
Hoping that everyone stays safe and that Florence falters and veers out to sea!
Non-Fiction (NF) / Re: Narritive Nonfiction PB proposals
« Last post by dkshumaker on September 12, 2018, 07:04 AM »
Just chiming in to say that most NF PBs are submitted fully written, not as a proposal like MG or YA.

And yes, include your time at the aquarium and your conversations with the biologist in your query letter when you submit. And yes, author/illustrators for NF PBs are entirely possible. I suggest you read lots and lots of NF PBs about animals to get familiar with the genre, but I LOVE your idea and definitely think you should go for it. '

To get more familiar with recent titles and writing about science in general I highly recommend these websites:
Melissa Stewart, NF guru at (This website covers a lot of history based PBs, but also science related ones.)

I'm drawing a blank on some titles, but I know there are definitely several books that deal with animal rescues, etc. If I think of them, I'll come back here with those recommendations.

Good luck!!!!!
Non-Fiction (NF) / Re: Narritive Nonfiction PB proposals
« Last post by marla-lesage on September 12, 2018, 06:31 AM »

For the project you describe I would treat it the same as a submission for a fiction PB. If you are an illustrator or artist then go ahead & submit as author/illustrator. I'm not sure of your art background... It would be helpful to have a portfolio together for the publishers to look at in addition to a rough dummy with 2-3 "finished" samples. Rather than a proposal you'd submit the complete manuscript/dummy/samples. Occasionally the publisher might ask for more so check each house's guidelines.

Be sure to write in your bio paragraph exactly what you've written above - that've spent the past year sketching the penguin & have contact with the expert at the aquarium (this is why YOU are the right person to write the story!).

It's sounds like a great story... I'd love to read it. Feel free to drop me an email if at some point you'd like some feedback on your ms/dummy. I'm sure i'll have something to swap - I usually do. :)

Editing to add: if you're not sure about illustrating it your sketches could still be useful (in place of or in addition to reference photos).  But if you have art skills just go for it!
Non-Fiction (NF) / Narritive Nonfiction PB proposals
« Last post by sophielynette on September 12, 2018, 06:11 AM »
A book idea ruthlessly attacked me the other day and now I’m juggling a transpacific move with research on nonfictional narratives.   :bewildered

I live half a mile from an aquarium and spend a lot of time there sketching.  I’ve gotten to know some of the animals and staff there, and I’ve been following the progress of a penguin that was found paralyzed last year.  I realized I want to tell her story.  I talked to the main biologist that has worked with her and he approved the idea.  I guess now I’m not sure how to proceed. 

I’m wanting to write and illustrate the story in a linear picture book format, like Jean Marzollo’s “Pierre the Penguin: A True Story”.  I’ve never written nonfiction before and a lot of what I’m reading seems to deal with longer fact-filled books and chapter books. 

So! My questions:

1.) Do publishers usually choose the illustrator for nonfiction pbs or are author illustrated pbs possible?

2.) For a narrative nonfiction pb with no sidebars (but possible backmatter) is a proposal and outline still required or can the full ms be submitted?

Any input is appreciated and thank you for reading my ramble.
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