with an emphasis on Children's Books
In recent years, self-publishing has grown increasingly popular among new authors who have either decided they did not want to go the traditional route of first finding an agent and then waiting months to years to snag a book deal with a publisher, or made the choice to self-publish from the start.
Self-publishing can be a daunting process in its own right, but fear not, for I'm here to help! When commissioning me for a book project, you are not just hiring an illustrator, but a guide to escort you through your self-publishing journey. (Think of me as that old wise man in fairy tales, only not old, not a man, and no face scruff.) You'll have access to my Self Published Author's Check List, a step by step guide on what you will need to do on your end to make your book a successful publishing experience, and the ability to call upon me if you are in need of help.
If you need editing services, I can send you on a quest to meet the fantastically gifted spinner of words, Lindsay Kucera. Seriously, she has a way with words that is like no other and can help you perfect your manuscript to show it in its best form.
My Illustration & Design Process
I receive a lot of emails from authors on the process of illustrating and designing a completed children's book. Below is a step by step look at the process on my end of the equation. It helps to demystify and make clear the time and effort it takes for a children's book to be realized and serves as a visual aid on what to expect when commissioning me.
Finding A Style That Fits Your Needs
At this step we will take a bit of time getting to know your characters and their unique personality quirks.
After speaking with you and looking over references you might have for me, I'll get to work sketching out potential character designs.
We'll start by looking at styles you like along with your budget and choose a level of illustration complexity that meets both those needs. Here's a look at a side by side comparison of the same line art done in a Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3
After getting to know your character, I'll start sketching out some ideas until I'm happy with three designs. Those designs will be shared with you and either one will be cleared for the next stage, or we'll make changes.
Once a sketch is agreed upon, I'll send you different color palettes for the character. We'll either agree on one, or we'll make some adjustments.
After the colors are decided, you have the option of either leaving the character design at this phase, or you also can have the option of purchasing a fully rendered character spot illustration to use for marketing purposes.
Round 1: Dot Goes to Lolly Land by Candyce Coffie concept sketches for Dot
Round 2: Dot Goes to Lolly Land by Candyce Coffie concept sketches for Dot
If there is a particular setting that needs to be illustrated in the book we will work together to decide on the best placement of important features in the environment. These sketches are used as references and remain loose and sketchy.
Concept of the room for Kangaroo in Our Car by Derryn Amoroso
After all the character and setting designs are done, it's time to make the magic start happening! It's time for the book dummy.
The book dummy will be a PDF of all the interior spreads of your book with sketches of each illustration and text placement on the page. This part of the process ensures that the story flows well from page to page and will give you an idea of what the final book will look like when completed.
Book Dummy of Kangaroo in Our Car by Derryn Amoroso
Once the book dummy is completed and approved it is now time to render out the illustrations.
This stage takes the most time in the process, usually 2 months, so along the way I will update you on a regular basis on the progress. Normal time between updates is two days.
All updates will be shared between us through a Google Drive folder. This ensures everything stayed neat and organized during the entire process and that things are easily accessible on any device, from any location.
Page from Kangaroo in Our Car by Derryn Amoroso
Text Layout & Book Packaging
The illustrations are all done and approved and now it's time for me to hang up my illustrator hat and put on my graphic designer hat. At this stage, I'll be choosing fonts and placing text to best work with the story.
If there is a need, at this time we will do a Skype or Zoom meeting where I will share my screen so that you are completely involved in the final step of the process before you receive the PDF to upload.
If at any time during the uploading process you need assistance, I'll be right there to help.