Illustrating is an important part of making a book. Some books just have the cover illustrated, some have small illustrations on a few pages, and sometimes every page has an illustration. Illustrations make people interested in the book, help explain complicated or unusual characters, and help explain what is happening in the book. The words in a book tell part of a story, but the pictures sometimes tell even more. (Like Jan Brett books!) A really good illustration makes the reader want to find out more about what is happening, and help the reader to see what is happening in the story.
Each illustrator has his own special style, or way of drawing. Some illustrators draw pictures to look just like the real object, and some make characters out of things that arenít alive. Illustrators use all different kinds of materials to draw their pictures. Some are done only with pencil, and others are done using watercolors, oil paints, colored pencils, ink, charcoal, and even computers.
The first thing an illustrator needs to know is what the story is about. Sometimes the author IS the illustrator, but other times the illustrator and author donít even know each other. The illustrator needs to find out who the main characters are and what the main idea of the story is. Once the illustrator knows about the story, he makes a storyboard. The illustrator sketches what he thinks each page of the book will look like. Once the illustrator finishes the storyboard, he makes a dummy book.
The dummy book is practice for the real book. The illustrator decides what will be the best size and shape for the book and then sketches a picture on every page. The illustrator needs to know what words will be on each page, how much room he needs to leave around the border, and a good idea of what the pictures will look like. The illustrator chooses the words on each page to make the book as interesting and exciting as possible and tapes them onto the dummy book.
Once the dummy book is finished, the illustrator gives it to the editor and author. They look at the dummy book and tell the illustrator what changes they want done to the pictures. Once all the changes are made, the illustrator can start working on the real illustrations.
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