- The colors used in the images must reflect the appropriate tone of the manuscript. The speakers yesterday used an upcoming picture book called Alligator Wedding by Nancy Jewell, illustrated by J. Rutland, to make this point. Initially, the illustrations were a little too dark even for the bayou setting. The publishers asked the illustrator to brighten them to more accurately convey the mood created in the text, and the final illustrations are fantastic.
- There is a lot of back and forth, at least at this publishing house, in the illustrating process. They try out a variety of cover images, fonts, colors, and layouts before committing to anything. I gained a whole new appreciation for their pursuit of perfection.
- The text shouldn’t hamper the image. In one of their books Life in the Boreal Forest by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Gennady Spirin, they made the decision to move the text into a column off to the side so it was not overlapping the image at all. That way, the integrity of the image remained pure. Even on the cover, the shadowing behind the title allowed for it to pop.
- This may seem obvious, but the image should reflect the text. They mentioned in a few books that what was being said in the text was not coming through in the pictures. Sometimes objects were missing or other times, things were not drawn accurately. Revisions had to be made to fix these problems.
- The importance of the cover was emphasized heavily as being something that must draw the reader in and appeal to kids. In some cases, they can choose to put one image on the jacket flap and an entirely different one on the hardback case itself.
- Images for double-page spreads should consider the “the gutter,” the 1/4" space where a book will be physically bound in the center so that nothing critical is lost. Knowing at the composition stage that the center of the image will be slightly tucked down into the binding can help maintain image integrity.
- The presenters strongly advised against submitting as an author/illustrator. If they like one aspect of your work over the other, they may reject the entire submission rather than tell you that one aspect is not up to parr. Stick to your strengths.
- If you submit a dummy, Henry Holt recommends including sketches along with one or two fantastic, finished pieces to demonstrate the final products you can produce.
- Finally, 8 1/2” x 11” are standard trim sizes. This goes back to the all-mighty dollar and the idea that bookcases in bookstores only accommodate a certain size. Don’t invite rejection by deviating from the norm.