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Hi everyone - I am new to  book publishing, new to the field, etc...and as I work at home, I'm wondering what is an appropriate size for the original illustration?  I like to work large, so is 20"x20" ok or is that too big?  The scanner I have at home only scans up to 11"x17".  I think I'll have to take photographs for submissions.  I've read "Writing with Pictures," as well as "Illustrating Children's Books".  There's so much to absorb.  I need to know more about the technicalities...how much room to leave for the trim, margins, etc.  If someone could help me out, let me know and thank you so much!  Looking at diagrams help, too, so and images you can share will be great too.  Looking forward to getting to know all of you!
#1 - February 18, 2019, 12:28 PM

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I think I'd heard that working at 110 percent is common. I think it really depends on your style. You don't want to have to shrink it down so much that you lose any tiny details. I personally work at 100% because I am more comfortable working small. I have a regular scanner and I scan my spreads in three or four pieces and then stitch them together using the Photoshop automate function. It took me quite a while to figure out how to do this effectively but once you get the hang of it it works. I know of other illustrators, particularly ones who use 3D (paper theatre, plastiscine, found object collage) who use photography or special scanners
#2 - February 18, 2019, 04:11 PM
https://marlalesage.com/
PIRATE YEAR ROUND (Acorn Press, 2019)

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Forgot to add that Lauren Castello and Qin Leng both work at less than 100%. I think the key is being consistent.
#3 - February 18, 2019, 04:15 PM
https://marlalesage.com/
PIRATE YEAR ROUND (Acorn Press, 2019)

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I've seen some of the illustrations that a few other SCBWI members have used for publication (hand-painted originals) and they vary in size. Some are sketchbooks size, while others are larger.

I've seen several exhibits of original illustrations from children's books (like Richard Scarry's bunny) and those weren't very large originally. But don't let that put you off. You work in what size you're comfortable in.

If a publisher wants you to create a series of images for a book they don't mind what media/size you work in, and they generally have special scanners for the original artwork.

When you're first starting out do your best work and if you work larger than a scanner, take photos or have a friend who's a professional take photos for you. You don't want a flash or a glare to wash out your work and you do need to have an online portfolio these days.
#4 - March 04, 2019, 09:25 AM

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The size you work in largely depends on what you're comfortable working in.  A small piece can be scanned at very higher resolution than required for printing if you know you'll need to enlarge it.  What matters most, actually, is the aspect ratio.  You can always reduce it and there are some tricks to enlarging it, but if the aspect ratio is wrong, it's not going to fit right. 

As for the bleed, if you're self-publishing, they will have specs or a template available to explain the sizes and bleeds.  If you're working for a publisher, they will tell you the dimensions they want.  (If they don't say, ask them.)  The exact size just depends on the dimensions of the book you're working with. 

Like Marla said, if your artwork is larger than your scanner, you can scan it in pieces and stitch it together in Photoshop.  If you photograph it, it can be VERY tricky to get the light right and get the camera squared up perfectly to the canvas.  I remember there was something called a copy stand that we used in high school to photograph artwork correctly for duplication.  But I don't know where you get one or if anyone actually uses them anymore. 

Good luck!
#5 - March 04, 2019, 05:52 PM
Karen B. Jones

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