Monday, October 27, 2008

Sourdough Scott Illustrations

Here's another example of an illustrating job that I did.

In this one I was called by my publisher and asked if I'd like to do illustrations for a children's book that was a compiled of Alaskan legends/fairy tales. In my mind I was thinking along the lines of "How Rabbit Lost His Tail" or "How Raven Stole the Moon". I told him I wasn't interested in drawing people because I don't feel like I do them well, but I would love to draw animals. He said it would be mostly animals, although there were some people in it. But mostly animals.

I read the stories and saw a lot more people than animals in my mind but still decided to give it a try. We met and decided where all the illustrations needed to be and roughly sketched out what the pictures needed to be composed of.

The author lives in Hawaii. When I found this out, I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. We ended up conversing entirely by email through the publisher. It turned out he was very easy to work with.

I did several pics and samples were sent to the author. His reply was "Really nice illustrations. While my first inclination was towards impressionistic, watercolor images that would have allowed the reader maximal freedom of imagination, I rather like the 'groundedness' feeling of these more realistic drawings. Please pass on to the illustrator my congratulations on the excellent interpretive work!"

Whoo Hooo! I didn't even know he was looking for "impressionistic" or I would have tried for that. I was given no instructions on the style and just did it the way it came to me. Plus it was decided to be done in B & W so watercolor wasn't even an option.

Long story short, the illustrating went well. The author, when I finally met him in person, was very nice. He even thought I had some kind of mental telepathy with him because he thinks that certain drawings in the book look like him as a younger man.

Out of 44 drawings in the book, 30 of them have people in them. So there goes the "mostly animals with a few people". The cover design artist did a great job with one of my illustrations by coloring it with sepia tones, adding shadows and turning it into the cover picture. I really like the cover! On this project, the author was responsible for a contract with the publisher. Instead of charging a flat rate, I get 50% of the author's royalties. That way I'm also involved in the selling of the book and that was important since the author lives in Hawaii. I have his book at my table at all of our book signings and I sign as the illustrator.

Lesson learned: Ask about the style of pictures the author is envisioning. Also, don't believe your publisher when he's trying to sucker you into doing the illustrations, he's going to gloss over the hard parts and make it seem easy. But I forgive him.


tainterturtles said...

I love this one too! What an interesting story behind the illustration job. Thanks again for sharing.

Aunt Krissy said...

Whats up with Carina?

PAK Art said...

Tim. Money. Enough said?

Everything else has been a priority this year. Paying off house, land, wedding, fishing trip, etc. We are double paying right now on your land.