Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hi, I’m Looking for an Illustrator for my Children’s Book…..10 Questions to ask before you say , “Yes!”

Artwork copyright © Wilson Williams, Jr.

 With the growth in popularity of the e-book many authors are seeing a glimmer of hope and realizing that they can get their work out there without having to break into the velvet roped publishing house exclusive party. This means that you will begin to get even more solicitations from those authors looking for artists to bring visuals to their words.

If you have a website or have done any degree of online advertising of your artwork, you have probably gotten an e-mail with a similar message as the title. If not, you will at some point. It’s best to be prepared now. For those who have gotten it, nine times out of ten you aren’t sure how to respond to it, what should you ask, how do you respond?

I was tired of retyping essentially the same letter over and over again.  I finally saved a template of the letter I use in this situation and I’d like to share it with you. This letter is set up to not only gauge the potential project but to also get a measure of the knowledge of the person I would be working with.  For a person who has no knowledge of  what it takes to produce a book, this letter is quite intimidating. That’s the point. You only want serious prospects when it comes to these types of projects, otherwise the jobs end up being more of a burden than a benefit.

Please take the letter and alter it to fit your needs. Within it you should find all the integral questions you should be asking anyone approaching you with a job of this nature. The more you know the better a position you’ll be in to decide whether or not the project is worth your consideration.

You can download the file in word here.
PDF format here.

So why these 10 questions you ask? See below!

Continue reading

Book Report – The Art of Brave

When I sat down to write my post this week I was thinking about writing one about a illustrator’s Christmas list and what it might have on it. Then I looked at my bookshelf and realized that The Art of Brave would be on that list for sure. So instead I decided to write a review. The art of brave is the 13th Pixar movie to be released and it’s Pixar’s first animated film to have a female lead.

First of all, let me state this is a fantastic book! All aspects of the film are covered, including character designs, environment drawings, storyboards and even a colorscript. For the longest time this book just sat on my shelf because I hadn’t gone to see the movie yet. It must be noted that if you haven’t seen the movie this book has major spoilers in it, but if that’s not a problem for you go ahead and open it up. For me personally, I waited. Continue reading

Picture Book Month!!

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November.

Founder, Dianne de Las Casas (author & storyteller), and Co-Founders, Katie Davis (author/illustrator), Elizabeth O. Dulemba (author/illustrator), Tara Lazar (author), and Wendy Martin (author/illustrator), put together their worldwide connections to make this happen.

Every day in November, there is a new post from a picture book champion explaining why he/she thinks picture books are important.

In this digital age where people are predicting the coming death of print books, picture books (the print kind) need love. And the world needs picture books. There’s nothing like the physical page turn of a beautifully crafted picture book.

Join the celebration and party with a picture book!

Lynne Chapman walks us through the genesis of her book, “Swap” Part 7

Part 6 of our exploration of Lynne Chapman’s posts about the process of her new book Swap. From pitching it to the publisher to dropping the final art in the mail.
You can see Part 1 here.
You can see Part 2 here.
You can see Part 3 here.
You can see Part 4 here.
You can see Part 5 here.
You can see Part 6 here.

Today we post another five blog posts from Lynne’s journey. To jump to the end and see all the posts now, drop by Lynne’s blog!

In her 30th post Lynne has finished her previous image and is moving on to the other more complicated images.

Continue reading

ImagineFX Subscriptions and How to Save a Few Bucks

When I first got out of school my instructors told me to subscribe to lots of different artist magazines. I’m sure this was so I could keep up with changing trends in the industry. I subscribed to Communication Arts and Computer Artist, just to name a few. A few years went by and my subscriptions ran out and I fell out of touch. Then I found a magazine that got me excited to start subscribing again. It was a magazine for Digital illustrators called ImagineFX. ImagineFX is a digital artists magazine featuring workshops and interviews with artist that specialize in science-fiction, fantasy, manga, game art and comic books. ImagineFX is from the UK by Future Publishing that started in January 2006. When I first found this magazine I was so excited, I loved the articles and they even included a DVD that includes workshop files that relate to the tutorials in the magazine as well as reader artwork, program demos, free fonts, textures, images and photoshop brushes. Continue reading

PiBolDMo Month! What’s that??

I just ran across this and wanted to share it with you guys! Today is the last day to register so if this seems like something you’d be interested in, hop on board and follow the link!


***Registration remains OPEN through November 7th. Click here.***

What is PiBoIdMo? Why, it’s Picture Book Idea Month!

Tired of novelists having all the fun in November with NaNoWriMo, I created PiBoIdMo as a 30-day challenge for picture book writers.

The concept is to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes). You don’t need potential best-seller ideas.

You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas and your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass.

Daily blog posts by picture book authors, illustrators, editors and other kidlit professionals will help inspire you. By the end of the month, you’ll have a fat file of ideas to spark new stories.

PiBoIdMo was first held in 2008 by a party of one—me! Then I hosted it on my blog for the first time in 2009. Each year the number of participants has doubled. In 2011 we had over 600 writers following PiBoIdMo. And now 2012 promises to be bigger and better!

Registration remains OPEN through November 7th. Then in early December you will be asked to take the PiBoIdMo Pledge stating you have completed the challenge with at least 30 ideas.

Writers who register and pledge will be eligible for prizes:

  • Feedback from literary agents
  • Original sketches by picture book illustrators
  • Picture book critiques from published authors
  • Signed picture books
  • Jewelry
  • Other Cool Stuff

Author and Illustrator Name pronunciations at

In the process of getting ready to interview varied artists within the Children’s Market I realized that many of you have some interesting names! Ha! Names that I sadly have no idea how to pronounce! I’m sure this is a problem that is common in a market that represents artists and writers from varied rich backgrounds and cultures all across the globe.
The last thing I wanted to do was get a chance to meet and speak with someone I respected and admired and get their name completely wrong when I spoke it. Luckily I found a solution that many of you will find useful, informative and fun.

TeachingBooks.Net has compiled a wonderful resource intended for teachers, but it can be used by fans and interested parties as well.

The site is constructed for the teachers at schools to get to know something about the visiting writers and authors at their schools. Largely how to properly pronounce their names, interviews, listing of teh books they’ve published and get additional visual and biographical information about them.  As I’m sure you know many Children’s Market writer and artists visit and give presentations to schools across the country.  This site proves to be a wonderful research tool for them.

The site also takes the process a step further by having the Writer’s and Artist’s explain how to properly pronounce their names themselves. You can search through their list of names and select the person of your choosing to hear them personally tell you how to properly pronounce their name. What a cool resource and find. I mean come on haven’t you always wondered how Jon Scieszka, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, or Leuyen Pham say their names without having to be embarrassed to ask yourself?


Free Hour Training on Painting in Sketchbook Pro with Bobby Chiu

Watch concept artist Bobby Chiu paint the new cover art for Sketchbook Pro 6. He starts off by walking you through a very basic tutorial, so if you’ve never used sketchbook before this is a good place to start. He shows you how to use and set up brushes and then moves to showing you all the controls and what they do. After the basic walk-through he gets into the meat of the video and starts his process for creating the cover art for SBP6. Bobby moves into more of his thought process of what it takes to create a drawing which I found very helpful. I always like getting a glimpse of what goes through other artist’s heads when creating their art.

From sketch to finish Bobby shows you step-by-step the entire piece and how it was created. If you’ve got a free hour to sit down and learn sketchbook I would really suggest starting with this video. It’s very helpful. I even learned a few things and I’ve been using this program for the last 3 years.

Once Upon a Sketch Podcast Episode 1 – Claude Bonnaud

Norman Grock and Wilson Williams, Jr. interview Claude Bonnaud about his work in the field of Toy design. Claude created his own Design studio in 1995 and began creating children’s licensed properties Since 2008. He has worked with companies like Crayola, Disney and Pixar. Claude Bonnaud shares with you some of his tips and tricks for creating wonderful toy designs. To find out more about Claude’s work visit his website at Please note that this podcast is released on the first Monday of every month.

Links mentioned in this episode: (37:00)

ToyNews (37:55)

Subscribe in iTunes

Past Series of Articles on Breaking into Toy Design:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Check out Norm‘s portfolio and Wilson‘s portfolio!
Follow Norm and Wilson on Twitter!

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