Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Illustration portfolio

There is always a lot of confusion about illustrations among people who have just gotten the idea to write a picture book. Just so you know, you do NOT submit your work to an editor or agent along with pictures. You do not need to draw your own, get your child to draw for you, or hire an illustrator yourself. This looks horribly amateur and clueless. It is not how the industry works. The illustrators are professionals who have actually gone to college and gotten a degree in illustration and design. They make a living at this. If you don't think you could make a living at illustration alone, then that should be a sign to you that you should not attempt your own illustrations. What happens with real books and real publishers is that you submit your picture book text to an editor, and assuming they like it and buy it, you do some rounds of revision with the editor and then they pair your text with an illustrator that THEY hire. Illustrators, you see, send samples of their work to publishers they'd like to work with, and when an art director likes it, they'll keep it on file and when the right text comes up, the publisher will pair the two.

Now, let's say you ARE sufficiently skilled to do your own illustrations, whether you've been to art school of some kind or not. I still see people posting portfolios on line that have seriously, nothing to do with children's illustration. It's a bunch of stuff they drew in art school, and maybe it was appropriate for the class they took, but it's not targeted to a children's book publisher. Allow me to direct you to a fabulous post on what you SHOULD include if you want to build an attractive portfolio for children's books. Jennifer Laughran is an agent at a top agency specializing in children's books, and she knows of which she speaks. Listen to her and learn! :)

No comments: