What should new illustrators be aware of or avoid when submitting their work to publishers? What are the most challenging aspects of creating images for a picture book? These questions and more are answered by children's book illustrators Christy Hale, Patricia Keeler, Betsy Lewin, Ted Lewin, Jesse Joshua Watson and myself, Don Tate, at the Lee & Low website.
So, what are the most challenging aspects of creating images for a picture book? I answered: "For me, the most challenging aspect of illustrating a children's book can be the tight, sometimes unrealistic deadlines. Creating art is not magic. I can't wave a wand and produce a 32-page picture book in one month—though I know that some illustrators can. I am honest with myself and my publishers about what I can and cannot accomplish in a determined amount of time. And if I can't do it, regretfully, I turn the work down.
My greatest rewards come from children, my fans. One time, I was signing books at a literary festival. A little boy walked up with his parents and wanted to purchase Black All Around! a book that features an African American girl on the cover. The kid was white, and his parents were very uncomfortable with his choice. They tried to persuade him to pick out another book, pointing to a few other authors at the festival. But this kid was insistent, he wanted Black All Around! because "The illustrations are cool." He was so excited and asked me many questions. He said that he wanted to be a cartoonist when he grew up. That experience was very rewarding."
I also agreed with Christy. She said, "The hardest thing to do is please oneself! " That is so true.