I Have the Best Job in the World

 

Sketches for a picture book

Sketches from an earlier picture book I illustrated.

A fresh start on a new picture book

My favorite thing about my job as a children’s book designer and illustrator is, starting to illustrate a new picture book. It’s the fresh beginning of a four to six month relationship with new characters that I get to bring to visual life with my pencil. It’s the excitement of finding the perfect details to enhance the story to take it further. It’s the joy of transforming an author’s manuscript into a colorful inviting picture book.

It’s also the time when I get to really get to know the talented author who created the story. I love working with creative people. Together the author and I form a team dedicated to “birth” their new picture book.

Today is my first day starting to illustrate a new picture book for an author I have not worked with before.  I will read the story several times to get a feel for the mood of the book and to get to know the characters. Once I form clear visual images of the characters in my mind, I can start to put my ideas on paper. I share these early sketches with the author to see if I have captured the personality of their characters.

I better get to work.

How to get your self-published picture book illustrated.

Self-publishing children’s book authors always ask how they can get their children’s book illustrated. They also ask how long will it take and how much will it cost.

If you are planning on self-publishing, print on demand (POD) like CreateSpace or Ingram Spark or a vanity printer like Lulu, Blurb, BookBaby, AuthorHouse, OutSkirts, Balboa Press or other publishers (that you pay to print your book) you WILL need professional illustrations for your children’s book. I would love to work with you.

 

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A lot depends on what results you want and your taste level. Some self-published authors are perfectly happy having their illustrations done by  a young relative or friend or illustrators from  Fiverr.comElance or UpWork featuring illustrators from 180 countries around the world. Sometimes these online services work out just fine. Sometimes there is a language barrier and delivery time problems. Other times the images you purchase are just reworked images from a previous illustrating job. It takes time to develop unique characters for a story, if an illustrator is only charging $5 or $10 per illustration, they don’t have time to read the whole book and design characters to fit YOUR story’s characters.

Or do you prefer to work one-on-one with a professional illustrator in the United States,  an illustrator who will actually read your story and create characters unique to your vision? I would then suggest you visit SCBWI’s (The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) illustrator’s Gallery, you can find me listed under my name Dayne Sislen or do a search for illustrators in your city or state. Children’s Illustrators.com is also a great site to find professional illustrators.

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With today’s high-speed Internet and the ability to send high resolutions files back and forth, location doesn’t make a lot of difference, but the ability to communicate clearly and make deadlines is very important.

Here is a link to my website where you can see more of my work. I like to send rough sketches to my clients for approval before moving onto finished color illustrations. This gives you an opportunity for feedback and direction.

Illustration price depends on the type of book the illustrations will be used in, how many illustrations and what type of illustrations the book needs. I can give you a price after I read your manuscript and knowing more about the type of book. I will gladly sign a Non-disclosure contract if you are worried about privacy and piracy.

The time it takes me to illustrate a complete 32 page picture book  usually takes between 3 months and 6 months. This includes reading the book, creating characters, research for costumes and background, doing pencil roughs for each page for discussion with author, doing the finished illustrations, coloring the illustrations and also laying out the pages with custom type in place. I can also design and illustrate your cover with custom type. I can also work directly with your printer to make sure you get the best possible printed book.

DON’T FORGET: If you are thinking about submitting to one of the top 10 traditional publishers, you do NOT need to submit your manuscript with illustrations.  The traditional publisher will choose an illustrator for you. They will provide the illustrations and pay for them, but you probably will not have any control over the process. Showing a traditional publisher your manuscript with illustrations may hurt your chances of being traditionally published. I love to work directly with publishers and art directors of these large publishers, but they are the ones who control this process and hire the illustrators.

Hope this helps you in your self-publishing journey.

Contact me directly through my website, I’d love to read your book. Or you can use the handy form below:

 

 

National Day on Writing!

Why do I write? Why does anyone write?

MOYH_9780996561518-Perfect.inddIt’s a form of personal and artistic expression as well as communication. Writing is important to our lives because information is passed from one person to another and to future generations through the written word.

I like to write and illustrate children’s books because I love to impart lessons of life in a fun entertaining way. With picture books, it is not necessary to scold or preach to children. Children can easily learn lessons by reading or being read stories with actions and consequences. They see their favorite characters solving life’s problems in entertaining stories. #whyIwrite, #picturebooks, #Kidlit

My newest book with author Donna Warwick is: There’s a Mouse on My Head! is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobel and can be ordered from independent book stores.

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I love this quote.

Illustration I am working on for a self-publishing author

Round_page17I have been working on this picture book on and off for two years. It’s a darling story about a “round” little girl who wants to be a ballerina butterfly in the school play. The story by Shervonne Taylor tells about the dreams of a chubby young girl, bullying by classmates, family support and learning to believe in herself.

I want to finish illustrating this book very much, I hope the author moves ahead with the project. It’s holding me up to start new projects for other authors.

Please leave comments, critiques  or your contact information below.