On working on live projects.
#industry #lessons #technique
n a conversation with a Publishing Director, after I had been obsessing with my illustration portfolio for two years was told that in terms of the following steps the only thing I needed to do to improve was to work on some live projects.
I’ve since completed 3 ‘live projects’ and am in various stages of my next 3. And I’ve learned so much from working directly with the book designers and editors. And indirectly with the broader team that all weigh in with feedback. Here are some things I’ve learned.
I’ve learned that the team appreciates when you take the initiative with the timelines. There is room to mold the timeline to suit your style.
Publishers love it when you hit a deadline, even more than you imagine.
It’s a rookie mistake to crop the scene too tight, zoom out and leave 15% more breathing room.
Clarity is key.
Tune many details to ‘say’ what is in the text.
Rhyming images and spreads are good, especially at the beginning and end.
Backgrounds are way less important than you think. Pay extra attention to characters
Printing is duller than the screen; use bright colors
Use as little black very strategically. To darken colors, use complementary colors instead.
Have one color scheme for the characters and another for the background.
Working in procreate is like working with paint; in the end, you still need to move everything to photoshop and adjust the colors.
Leave time at the end of projects and expect a lot of edits, a lot of people have a say in picturebooks; get ready to accommodate that.
Preparation work, research, and sketching always pay dividends, not just for the current book but for future books too.
Close the Gap
So much of what we do is learned on the job.
If you want your passion to be your job, do it as if it’s a job. Give yourself challenging assignments or take classes.
When doing ‘your job’, know that the energy you put in is an investment in your growth and pays dividends.
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Every week I’ll take you behind the scenes and show you the gaps between my Tastes and my Abilities. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not free. The price is $20 for a month of tastings (every Monday) or $200yearlyr.
But reducing that to the minimum Substack will allow me to charge until I reach 200 paid subscribers. (As low as $2.50 per tasting)
You’ll also be able to access ‘The Archiv,’ 350 posts written in my first year of becoming a picture-book illustrator.
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