Sunday, January 10, 2010

Writing a Children's Book - The Illustrations are Complete. What's the Next Step?

OK. So, you have written a children's book. You have hired an illustrator and worked diligently with this person to make sure your pictures match - and enhance - your written words. Now you have a beautiful set of pictures, however your project still does not resemble a book. What's the next step?

Now is the time to turn the pictures over to the graphic designer. Unfortunately, many authors eliminate this important step. I'm not sure if this is to save time or save money, however this step is crucial to the overall quality of the finished book. The graphic designer places the text on each page, coordinates the colors of the backgrounds, designs the extra pages (such as the copyright page and the end flaps) and "punches up" the colors of the illustrations if necessary. This is the person that ties up all the loose ends and presents the book to the printer in "camera ready" form. In many cases, this person also designs the cover.

It's important to work as closely with the designer as with the illustrator. They can really perform magic. For example, one of the children in my new book had a hand that just looked strange to me. No problem. My illustrious designer simply copied a hand from another child and replaced the one I didn't like. We were also able to test a number of end flap colors and overall color schemes with ease. (See photo)

So don't skimp here. This step is too crucial to eliminate.

The next step is finding the right printer. Stay tuned...

Bobbie Hinman


Anonymous said...

This is so true. Many self-publishers need the reminder: GRAPHIC DESIGN IS CRUCIAL. They are as worth the money as the illustrator. As an illustrator, I keep a special place in my heart for the graphic designers who enhance my work rather than cover it up with text.

Fairy Lady said...

Thanks, Christina. It's hard to believe that one illustrator I spoke with said that she didn't want any designer coming in and "messing with" her work!