Lately I’ve been thinking about getting back into illustrating books. The two books I’ve worked on so far were really fun projects, but I didn’t actually have to work to land the job. The first book was part of my college credit, then we all just decided to stick together for a second book.
I’m very excited about getting into illustrating as of right now (that's how it usually goes when something is new), but I'm not sure how aggressively I want to pursue it in the long term. I might not have the stomach for this kind of adventure. Working with a client is very different than drawing for yourself, or even drawing for work at my day job. The scope of a project and the expectations of the client aren't always as clear with freelance work as they are with a 9-5 position. The procedures and task management systems in place at R&T make it pretty clear when work starts and ends, what the task is supposed to be, and what is expected of each team member. Freelance work is more like free falling off a cliff into a canyon of pointy deadlines. No one told me how to pack or deploy my parachute...in fact...I'm not even wearing one.
I might go ahead and illustrate my own book then try to shop it around to a publisher. I did find some great tips on getting started with children's book illustrating on this website.
My book idea is an illustrated poem. It's somewhat of a nonsense poem, but it does have a message and I think it will be really fun to create the artwork. Since I've just started learning to work with acrylics, I'm going to try to do these will paint instead of my usual colored pencils or digital work. This is a great opportunity to push myself because I have nothing to lose.
I learned online today that a standard children's book is 32 pages because the pages need to be a multiple of eight to work best for the press (this is the same rule we use for our catalogs at Rings & Things). That's a whole lot of art.
My goal is to complete the first draft by the end of the summer (by September). Only time will tell if I actually stick to that goal, but I'm hoping that putting it in writing will give me extra incentive to stay with it.