I guess it's high time for the next story, especially when I've just finished new portion of illustrations for yet another children story. Today I'd like to talk a little bit about how is it like to draw for children's book.
Normally when you get such job, you are usually told what you should draw. Like: "we want a very cute kitten with white fur and blue eyes, background should be simple, in a dark color" - that's not a lot of info but it's good cause it gives you some freedom. I don't really like to draw very specific things, there is no room for creativity.
So you were told something vague about the cover, after some time you finished your job, everyone is happy (or not) and you can move to the inside. For me it was cover + 17 black&white lineart illustration. Just like those:
Nobody tells me what to draw on those inside sketches. I just get the text and pick something for every chapter. You would say that it's awesome, cause I get to draw what I want. I thought so too, but...
Well, the author of the story doesn't really care about the illustrations because I pick them. So she/he doesn't have any "vision" for the book as a whole. She writes without thinking about illustrations and therefore it's sometimes troublesome to pick anything at all!Me:
Hello, I'm sorry but I need your help, I cannot pick any decent looking illustration for chapter 4. Can we skip it?X:
We'd rather not do that. What's the problem?Me:
Fourth chapter is about the dog peeing on the floor and girl having to clean after it. That's not really a good material for a drawing.X:
But it's an important part of the story, to show the children that blah blah blah.... Please try to think of something.
What I did was a drawing with a dog sleeping on the floor with innocent face and girl holding a piece of cloth and looking tired but smiling on the puppy. Not so bad.
I'm sorry but can't we do something about those last chapters?X:
What's wrong with them?Me:
There are only cats talking in the garden. For three chapters. And even the topic of their conversation is the same for the whole time. X:
I painted cats on the first one, small cats with their conversation topic in some floating clouds like a short comics and on the third one I painted a situation from their talk instead of those cats. They were, for three days, talking about a thief stealing cookies from the bakery.
Well anyway, those were just two examples. But there are more and sometimes people who manage the project will help out and give some ideas or agree to change the text a bit (for example: I have cats in cages, talking. Who would want to have those cages on the illustration? Manager agreed to free the cats in text for the purpose of cuter drawing) and sometimes they won't and you are stuck with 3 chapters in a row where nothing happens and they are just talking at the table. Awesome.
Oh and in case you haven't seen it yet: there is a new tutorial at hakeme.com, check it out! [link]
Okay, gotta go back to studying. Exams are coming!