I don't want to offend an illustrator with my notes. I know they are smart people who can probably figure out a way to illustrate my text without my input. On the other hand, they may not pick up on the intended background story without the notes, and then my story would not be complete. What to do? I am not an illustrator, but this is one of those instances when being the author and the illustrator would certainly come in handy. Sometimes I play around with the idea that I should provide illustrations. Would it be appropriate to include my not-professional looking drawings with my text rather than illustrator notes so that the entire concept is conveyed? Maybe this is something a veteran author might not even have to worry about, but I am unpublished. This is a very confusing issue for me.
Oh, if only I could create the artwork.
So, here I am with a really pared down text of just over 300 words with lots of illustrator notes in-between.
Well, I sent the manuscript off for a professional critique and the comment made was that I should try to write it without the illustrator notes, that maybe it was a little too spare. So, my task is trying to rewrite the story and fuse those illustrator notes with my text, without telling things the illustrator can show.
I always heard not to put anything in the text that an illustrator can show.
So, I'm confused and not feeling very good about this. I think about the problem for a few weeks. And then I get down to work. I write it out to include those illustrator notes, and low and behold, to my surprise, I find that the voice of my main character is coming out a little bit better. And, I really like that. So far, so good. Next, I prepare to send the new draft off to my critique group for their response. Does this new version work better or worse?
In the meantime, I decide to start playing around with a dummy to see how this story lays out on a page. See if it will even fit. I prepare a 32-page booklet and begin adding the text.
Take a look at the following blog to get a better feel on what the picture book format entails:
And whatdayaknow, I'm figuring out more things, like where page turns should be and how I want this to flow, and I figure out that there are some things I can indeed cut. Things that will become obvious to the illustrator without direction from me.
Next comes the meeting with the critique group, and they like the new version better. They also provide more items to cut that the illustrator will pick up on his own.
Now it's time for the next revision. I didn't think it could happen but guess what? I have only one illustrator note left on the final page. Is that okay? I don't know. Maybe I'll find that I won't need it either once this is all said and done.
Has anyone had this experience with illustrator notes besides me? I would love to hear advice or opinions on this issue. What would editors prefer? What would illustrators prefer?
Don't you worry, too, that maybe the illustrator will come up with a background story idea that is so much cooler than anything you imagined and left notes for? Where does this end? Make it stop!