UPDATED WITH AN EMMA DRYDEN RESPONSE!
Thanks for the great questions, Zach! And for allowing my readers to benefit from the answers. Hope these clear some things up for you!
1) So I read your books, “I Hate to Go to Bed!” and “Who Hops?” and saw that you used pen and ink with pre-separated colors in one and acrylic paints in the other. Did you transfer your images onto the watercolor paper with something or simply re-draw the images on the paper? If you transferred them, how did you do it? Carbon paper is messy (and by mentioning carbon paper, you probably think I use an abacus to calculate numbers, don’t worry! I use a calculator :P) so I could use your advice in this area…Or being tech savvy, are you now just doing it all on your computer?
Sometimes I take my sketches and rub a pencil on the other side of the tracing paper and then go over it so it transfers. It is much the same as carbon paper, actually! Sometimes I’ll sketch out a character and scan it in and then work on it digitally. It depends on the book and how I want it to look. For example, Kindergarten Rocks! I wanted it to be all crayoned, but since I wanted it consistent, I created a crayon paintbrush in Photoshop, but the crayoning used to create that brush was done with an actual crayon on paper.
2) There are certain art contests/shows that I enter and have been accepted in the past. Now that I am working on illustrations for a book, is it okay if I enter a finished piece of artwork from a pre-published book? I would keep all the rights to my art work and I realize it would build my art resume being in more art shows/journals for my illustrations, BUT would a possible publisher hit the Facebook “dislike” button knowing a picture for the book had been “published” in an art journal?
There is no way to know definitively what each and every publisher would do but I’d guess it wouldn’t hurt your chances of being published, and frankly, I can’t imagine a publisher not publishing a book because a piece from the book was shown somewhere. Besides, by the time they’ve edited and worked with the story, the art will change anyway.
I wanted to get confirmation on my thoughts so I asked writer and freelance editor (and former Harcourt editor) Deborah Halverson, who told me, “I don’t believe this would be an issue for an editor who might be considering that illustrator. Editors know that this is a way for illustrators to network and build a reputation, and they understand that the illustrator is going to pick his/her best pieces (which may be artwork from a pre-published book). The publication of that piece or two of art wouldn’t compromise the sales or copyright of the pre-published book in question. I see no danger in this.”
And from Emma D Dryden children’s editorial & publishing consultant, drydenbks LLC, “I think generally it’s OK for someone to publish a piece of art from a pre-published book in a show. What I might expect to happen down the road is that when and if the book gets picked up by a publisher, the author/illustrator needs to come clean and explain to the publisher that a piece of art from the book was published in a show and say they be willing to rework and tweak that piece of art for the final book if the publisher so chooses, so as to make that piece of art a bit different from what it was when it was in the show. Overall, it’s important for this author/illustrator to recognize that it’s highly likely a publisher will be asking for edits to the text as well as revisions to the artwork anyway, as a natural part of the publishing process, so whatever that author/illustrator puts up in a show is likely not to necessarily be what ends up in the published book. Make sense?”
Yes! And thanks, Emma!
3) You have talked about making “I Hate to go to Bed!” into an e-book and how your book’s pages dimensions need to be changed in order to fit it into a book program. In your opinion, do you think pre-published authors should be looking to fit those dimensions so we could have a book that would sell both as an e-book and “regular” book or would you say “just do your thang” and e-books will get better with more flexibility with dimensions in the future?
If it were me, and I were trying to get published by a traditional publishing house, I would try to create the best story possible and worry about the rest later. The story is most important so if you’re focusing on trying to crowbar a horizontal format into a vertical iPad format, consider whether that is best for the story. If you are thinking about self-publishing, then you still should serve the story first. It’s easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of e-publishing, but picture books aren’t going anywhere, and we still need good ones out there! And don’t forget, I Hate To Go To Bed was traditionally published first, and I had a smart editor’s guidance on it so I know it’s good. If the story didn’t stand by changing the format for epub, I wouldn’t do it.
I hope these answers help!