When you receive your images from your children's picture book illustrator, you should think about hiring a graphic designer to adjust the images in Photoshop. There are several reasons for this
1. Continuity of palette. A graphic designer will ensure that the great color palette your illustrator has chosen will look consistent throughout the book.
2. Even color. Your graphic designer will ensure that the colors are bright, the lines are crisp, and that that brightness and crispness is consistent throughout the book.
But didn't you love the images as they were? In their gorgeous, immediate, watercolored glory? In their sweet humanity? In the way they felt so obviously the work of a human hand?
Yes. That's exactly the way I felt when I received images from my book's illustrator, Maima Widya Adiputri. But then I thought better. After all -- these images are going to be seen and touched on a screen by a large portion of this book's readers. These images are competing for attention with every other high-contract, bright-as-a-ecstasy-fueled pipe dream image out there. I have to give this book a chance in the marketplace, you know!
Here's an example of what I mean, albeit one that makes me cringe. Did you ever play Candyland? It might be the worst children's game in the history of games (there's no skill involved, boring as hell).
Here's an old Candyland Board. Simple. Lovely. No Purple-haired Lollipop princesses to be found.
Compare this, if you will, to the new Candyland board. It's just awful. It's Ken Kesey's Candyland. It's Candyland in Technicolor. This Candyland has my kids fighting over the characters. I hate playing the new Candyland. I hide it as far back in the closet as possible.
But there's a lesson in Candyland, and I"m not talking about teaching kids how to keep a card deck, count spaces and take turns.
With children's books, I think the goal should always be to strike a nice balance between the charming, spare and inviting old Candyland with the new Candyland desires of the marketplace.
For my book, that means:
Bright(ish) colors: Yes
Cartoonish characters: No
Deep, resonant color palettes: Yes
Technicolor throw-up: No
I'm not a graphic designer, so I've hired my skilled and talented Brother-in-Law, Jeff, to do the adjusting of images. I think he's doing a bang-up job. Next, we'll be choosing the fonts and marrying texts to images.
Do you hate Candyland? How do you strike a balance between Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test images and the kind of charm you're going for in your book?
Emily Grosvenor, author of Tessalation!, a children's book about tesselations and patterns in nature.