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cart before the horse..help!

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Hello!
     I'm very new here (as of yesterday).  I recently had a book "published?" that I was illustrator for.  Enough people like my illustrations and my husband is encouragiing me to do more so, here I am to learn how it's really done.  I did an alphabet counting book with about 30 illustrations just for the experience-no real money yet :-)  My friend had it published with a publishing company.  I thought it was self publishing but she said it was the real deal.  Now that I look at some of the info on the scbwi site I'm thinking it was a vanity publishing company.  So, I really know almost nothing about this business or using the computer for uploading, cleaning up art, etc.  My son cleaned mine up for me.  My husband and sons help me upload things on occasion, etc.  I really need to do it myself..SO....to make a long question short,  any suggestions on how to proceed to do illustration and actually get payed?  What classes might be good to take as far as technology goes-best programs, etc.  My computer is a unix-type system (ubuntu).  My sons use GIMP instead of photoshop.  I can always take more art classes.  I have an AA in art.  I'm 57 years old with one grandson and am just trying to figure this all out. 
     I am selling the books out of a box right now.  It's on amazon but there are none available to sell. You really have to look for it and know the authors name (Jen Coy) or isbn to find it.  It's supposed to be on Barnes and Noble too. No book signings, etc.  My friend was under the impression that she was going to get a lot of help from the publisher but, I haven't seen much more than printing and selling her books at a discount to sell by herself (me too).  Maybe we need agents.
     Still a long post..sorry.  Would love to hear from some of you.  Thanks!
Marsha
#1 - September 06, 2014, 01:16 PM

Welcome!  I can't provide definitive answers for your questions as I'm an author illustrator novice who is learning all this myself. I plan to self publish when Im done.

I do have to give you kudos for using Linux though. I use it at work and its a treat to work in, gimp will be able to handle most of what you need. There is a very good free sketching and painting application who's name eludes me currently, but it would he the one to have if you ever get a tablet and start working digitally. I'll get the name of it when I get back to work

Mike
#2 - September 06, 2014, 01:48 PM

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Welcome, Marsha! :welcome

I'm so sorry your first experience with publishing has been with a vanity publisher. Except in the case of legitimate self publishing ventures where you are your own publisher and hire out editing and art, etc, money should flow toward the author/illustrator. Vanity publishers make money from the author, where traditional publishing/self publishing make money from readers. There is no support for authors from a vanity publisher.

To start, I suggest you read as many threads here as you can (members here are wonderfully supportive and encouraging, and share knowledge). Another great place to get a crash course in the publishing industry is our member Harold Underdown's site http://www.underdown.org/

I do traditional artwork myself (watercolor and ink) so I don't do a lot digitally, but I scan sketches and color samples onto my computer to create book dummies. (there is a good tutorial here on that http://www.yellapalooza.com/tutorials/dummies.html , and a good thread here: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=65680.0 ) I use PhotoShop and InDesign. Others here may be more help in that area.

Hope this helps!  :flowers2

#3 - September 06, 2014, 02:16 PM
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There is an awful lot to learn in this industry. In fact, your post contains topics it would take pages to ,answer: self publishing, traditional publishing, agents, illustration classes, technology. My best advice is to start reading everything you can on this site. Read books. Take classes. Attend conferences. Ramp up your computer skills. Learn how illustration differs from gallery art.

Maybe your local college has computer and/or illustration classes. My son is a professional illustrator. He has a BA in illustration, has worked on textbooks for several years and just had his first book traditionally published. I've learned a lot from him. For instance, a picture of a beautiful room may be art, but if it shows someone's shoe disappearing around the corner of a doorway, it is an illustration, because it tells a story. The story element is essential.

Also be aware that some agents prefer working with author/illustrators. It wouldn't hurt to take a class or two on writing picture books. You can find them online and you can also find books that help tremendously.

It just plain takes time, but you've made a start. You've also recognized you have a lot to learn, so good for you and welcome to the Blue Boards. It's a good place to be.

Laurel
#4 - September 06, 2014, 02:33 PM

Thanks so much for the encouragement and the resources to check.  I've got my work cut out for me!  Nice to know I have a place I can ask questions and get answers!  I'll set some time aside for reading.  Thaks again!

Marsha
#5 - September 06, 2014, 05:38 PM

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I see you're a member of SCBWI. Head over to the website's resources section. A lot of your question will be answered in many of those documents.

As far as becoming more computer literate, our local area community college gives Adult Ed classes on many of those things, most of them free. Check your local area higher education schools for similar programs.

As far as needing more art classes, general art classes won't teach you what you need to know to illustrate. Check out Will Terry's blog, he has many free videos, as well as very good paid classes geared just for children's illustrations. No one cares if you have a degree or not, they care about how good your art is. Personally, I take classes on illustration as often as I can. I've been a professional illustrator for decades, you'll never stop learning or striving to improve your craft.

Sounds like a vanity press with your friend's book. Too bad. There is a web site called 'Predators and Editors,' look it up, they have an extensive list of the good, the bad and the ugly in book publishing. Good luck!
#6 - September 06, 2014, 06:00 PM
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