Finding the right illustrator can be a very tedious task for multiple reasons. First, you want to make sure that the illustrator has a developed background which includes a portfolio and a degree in illustration and/or years of experience, all of which show the heights and range of their talent. Next, you want to work with someone who listens carefully to instructions, but allows their creative genius to take your vision and manifest it into visual form. Lastly, you want to hire someone who you like. Most likely, you will work with this person on multiple projects so having a good relationship with them goes along way.
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Prior to the last editing phases of Broccoli Chronicles, I began looking for an illustrator for my book. My dearest friend, Sharon Lee, recommended that I look at the work of Alvina Kwong; I was immediately blown away at her talent, but I was nervous deciding on an illustrator due to past experiences, so therefore I let a few months go by before I finally offered her a contract for my first book. I was not only impressed with her ability to capture my main character, but also by her publishing credits, her college background, website, and extensive portfolio. We started working on the 42 illustrations right away and about 2-3 months later, we were done.
In the small time that Broccoli Chronicles has been published, it won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award in Children’s Fiction and has been selected as a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Juvenile Fiction!
Alvina and I worked together for at least a year before we had physically met each other. Prior to that, our conversations were all through text, email, phone calls, and social media. We finally met at the Jackalope Art and Craft Fair in Pasadena in April 2015 and it was a delight.
Not everyone experiences a happy ever after ending like I did so please take your time before you decide on the right illustrator for your book.
Check out some of the illustrations that Alvina did for my first 4 books.
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