Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need your book fully illustrated prior to sending it to a publisher. In fact, many publishers offer exclusive illustration services. This helpful post will teach you the basics of requesting, approving, and finalizing illustrations for books that need any type of illustrations at all—whether interior or exterior—at Atlantic Publishing. To make your book look its best, you and your project manager will work together closely to determine the right illustration layouts, descriptions, and illustrator.
Before We Assign an Illustrator
Because there are countless illustration styles and personalities that affect how an illustration looks, you must decide exactly what you’re looking for in terms of illustration style and type. For instance, there are different types of illustrations that require specific techniques and different genres of illustrators that best for different manuscripts. A helpful list of many illustration styles and types is available here.
Of course, your project manager will help you, but that doesn’t mean your job is done after the manuscript is written. You need to give your project manager descriptions of the scenes/characters/objects you would like illustrated. Think as if you're writing a screenplay—you need to show us what you're seeing clearly. This includes the following aspects (taken from Lights Film School blog):
· Scene action: What’s happening in the scene? Did a train just whiz by? Did a horse gallop past a window? What’s happening around your characters?
· Character appearance: What does your character look like? Are they clean-cut? Sloppy? Bright-eyed? Tired? What are they wearing? A UPS uniform? A wedding dress? A sweater and slacks? The visual details you choose will tell us about your character as a person and what they’re experiencing at the moment.
· Location appearance: What does the space in which your scene takes place to look and feel like? Share details that are unique to that space. Don’t tell me a kitchen has a stove and refrigerator (most do!)—instead, tell me what makes that kitchen different from another kitchen. Is it small and cramped? Vast and sterile? Warm and cozy? Be specific.
· Character action: What is your character doing? How do they act and react? Someone just said, “I love you” to your character—did they look down and start to cry, jump for joy, run away? Their physical responses can communicate what they’re feeling—don’t ignore them.
· Text placement: Does your book need text on the same page of the illustrations? Keep that in mind while you write your screenplay-like descriptions. Where do you want the text to be? Do you have a font in mind? The illustrator will need to know this before completing the final illustration.
A good illustrator doesn’t just plop a few lines on a piece of paper and call the sketch done; they take the characters’ personalities and the books’ settings into consideration to make the most complete and detailed representation of an author’s story.
The Illustration Process
Illustrations are often completed in four stages, depending on the needs of the project:
In stages one and two—and right before stage three is complete—you can give feedback or request changes. In fact, this is encouraged! If something seems off about the illustration, anything at all, let your project manager know immediately. Take advantage of opportunities to give feedback and request changes, but, if you request late changes, be prepared to pay extra to account for the time and energy spent on additional revisions.