Continuing with The Author journal, and my time travel, I found several good articles in the Summer issue. One of them was by Sarah McIntyre, who illustrates, but also writes. The odd thing was that as I absentmindedly stared at the double spread lying open in front of me, I saw the writing in the middle of the illustration, and thought ‘that looks like Sarah McIntyre’s writing’. And it was. It would have been even more immediately obvious if I’d read the byline or looked at the picture.
It seems – although I knew this already – that wannabe authors contact illustrators and ask them to do their picture book. Because obviously this is what artists in the book world do; hope some amateur will come along and their fortune will be made. Just like that.
Whereas they work hard, because a book takes a long time, and they have contracts and deadlines to stick to, and usually the publishers are the ones who will know who will suit which story.
Sometimes an illustrator has to choose between answering these emails [politely], or spend time with their families. Hard choice, yes?
But you know, it’s an irresistible thought. Who would I want to illustrate for me? The answer is most of them.
Again, as you know, I have no real book plans, and certainly not picture books. But there is that thought at the back of my mind. If I had a book, it would at least require a cover image. And so my mind goes. I like a lot of illustrators, and their work. My solution is to ask a new person for each book I publish. Or, more likely, my imaginary publisher will in their infinite wisdom commission new cover art for every book I have coming out.
The Tracy Beaker look, maybe. Kate Leiper would make my heart leap. Debi Gliori. Sean Tan. Mairi Hedderwick.
What the pages inside these lovely books would have on them is anybody’s guess. I have no idea. But just as some people begin with having the perfect book title, so I have a great cover coming. I just know it.