Currently I'm working on book projects with two different publishers, one being trade and the other in the educational market. The timelines for deadlines are vastly different as is the manner in which briefing materials and art direction is conveyed.
Its been enlightening to have both experiences. I'm a visual learner and a slow processor of information. I like to mull things over. Notes on the actual art help immensely with my processing power. They are like 'Cliff Notes' to the novel that is the briefing email.
But, what I'm finding helps the most is taking the time to actually call and talk about those notes with the editor or art director. This is a HUGE change for me. I hate talking on the phone & I'm really bad about asking for help. But, I'm finding it helps to clear up any confusing on what they might be saying, aren't saying, didn't say...and oftentimes it allows you, the artist, to clarify your vision.
This sketch was approved without changes. So I took it to final art.
Once I got feedback on the final art it became clear that we weren't seeing the same thing. For instance, they thought the cat was coming out from under the bed. I drew him as through he was reaching under the bed. The dresser in the background they read as being the headboard, which explains why they wanted the bed skirt lopped off. A quick phone call clarified the direction, literally, the bed was in and thereby the direction of the edits.
Tim Palin, the art director for Cantata Learning, is so fun to talk with. Once we were both on the same page about the direction of the bed we were able to brainstorm changes that would strengthen the piece. I removed the dresser, changed the perspective of the bed slats and darkened up the shadows.
For someone who generally HATES change I've really learned to love this stage of the creative process. Wouldn't it be nice if we got the same kind of do overs when crafting the pages of our daily life?
Jennifer Bower is a picture book maker from North Carolina. She loves crafting characters, one line at a time, while sniffing markers and eating her crayons. She gave up paste in college.