Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Searching for the Right Illustrator

Have you ever wondered how a publisher finds the right illustrator for a book? Does it matter if the illustrator lives in the same cityor even the same countryas the publisher? Today, Annick's creative director Sheryl Shapiro tells the story of how she decided which illustrator would be right for an upcoming book.

Choosing an illustrator for a book is like casting for a movie. You feel more confident if you’ve seen something they’ve acted in before. You often prefer to use a comedy actor for a comedy and a dramatic actor for a drama. You also want that person to bring his or her own personality to the role, to provide something fresh and insightful.
But sometimes you do something to surprise and challenge your audience. Annick Press has just sent a book on medieval history to press and we chose a humorous cartoonist, Ross Kinnaird, for a history book. The book is called It’s a Feudal, Feudal World: A Different Medieval History (available this fall!). It’s full of snippets of neat infographic information about the Middle Ages and Ross’s entertaining art.
One of Kinnaird's illustrations for It's a Feudal, Feudal World
Using the Internet, it’s really almost as easy to work with an illustrator on the other side of the world as it is to work with one in the same city, except if you need to spread out sheets of paper on a boardroom table. I’ve worked with illustrators all over the world and never get to meet them in person.

When we chose Ross to illustrate the book, I had no idea where he lived. I was amazed at the coincidence when I discovered that he lives in Auckland, New Zealand, one of my stops on a trip to New Zealand last year. It was so neat to sit down at an outdoor café with him in person.
Sheryl and Ross in New Zealand
Ross turned out to be a serious, thoughtful guy as well as someone with a great sense of humor who sees the funny side of everything. Now I’m thinking about all those other illustrators I’ve worked with who live in interesting countries and wouldn't it be great to meet them in person too!      —Sheryl Shapiro

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