Using reference material

“Use a lot of reference material. I often hear kids and adults say they can’t draw. They measure their ability by how well they can realistically reproduce something out of their heads. One of the problems I have with art presentations and drawing by request, is that I can’t draw either. I don’t have the visual memory to make a cow look like a cow without a picture of a cow in front of me to refer to.

Without that, we’re talking horse/cat/bear morph. This doesn’t mean that I am realistically rendering the cow to make it look like the photograph. I just need help remembering how the hipbone attaches to the leg bone and whether cows have horns and lips. Even if you have a highly stylized illustration style having reference material can be very helpful.” Eve Aldridge

reference picture.jpg

When should you hire an illustrator?

You have a book manuscript going and have talked to a self publishing company, now you want illustrations for your book. When is the best time to bring an Illustrator into your project? From my past experience as an illustrator I can tell you the best time is after your manuscript is finished, edited and ready to go to print. Jumping the gun and seeking an illustrator’s services when changes are still being made to your writing will result in frustration and lack of success for your project.

Rennefarre  , by Malve von Hassell

Rennefarre, by Malve von Hassell

I can illustrate your book.

A family member asked me to illustrate a book he was self publishing. It featured a lab mouse named Piebald, who became the first character I brought to life on the written page. The publishing company liked my drawings and began giving my name to other clients. Over the next 14 years I selectively worked on a number of book projects. Each client helped me to learn a little more about how to work with an author to get their book ready to print. I joined the SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and attended a number of their state and national conventions. This was a great venue to begin to understand how the children’s book industry works. I have received many emails from aspiring authors who are looking for an illustrator. In future blog posts I will write about some of the things I’ve learned that may help you in your quest to obtain a published book with illustrations.

this little mouse started the whole thing. . .