Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Better Half

Illustration used with permission ©Josée Bisaillon

I got an email from my editor (boy, do I love "saying" that! My editor, my editor) telling me that they have picked an illustrator for my picture book! I confess to feeling a bit of panic. While I didn't have a specific idea of how I wanted the book to look, I did have some idea of what I thought it should look like. What if I didn't like the illustrations? What if I didn't think they would work well with my words? I know that as a picture book author, my words are only half of the book. The illustrations make the words and the words make the illustrations. My panic lasted only as long as it took me to visit the illustrator's website.

I loved what I saw on Josée Bisaillon's website. Her illustrations were not what I expected. They were better! It's obvious why professionals choose the illustrator and not the author. That's not to say that I'm not a professional, or that all authors are like me, but I am not an illustrator. I am, in fact, more limited in my knowledge of visual arts than I would like to admit. I am so happy that I didn't have a say in who would illustrate BENNO AND THE NIGHT OF BROKEN GLASS.

Seeing Josée's work, I got excited all over again. It was as if I'd learned all over again that my work was going to be published. When it takes three years from acquisition to publication it's hard to sustain excitement. Sometimes it seems as if it's a dream. It's weird to tell people, "Oh, yes, I'm being published. But you can't buy the book for three years." No one (outside the world of children's publishing) understands why it takes so long.

I'm sure I'll be excited all over again when the book actually comes out. Being able to see how Josée brings my words to life is going to be thrilling!

Illustration used with permission ©Josée Bisaillon.


  1. Meg:

    Her work is spectacular. It's very European--beautiful, angular, vivid and appealing. I think it's a perfect fit with your manuscript.

    I can't wait to see the finished product!

  2. I think it will be thrilling to see how she interprets the story.

    Can't wait!

  3. Yes, for the picture book author it's scary to give up the other half of your book to a stranger. I was lucky with my illustrator and it looks as though you are going to be lucky also.

    Consider this a high point in the interminable wait for 2010.

  4. I predict this book will get noticed--for the art, the writing, and the subject matter. Can't wait to see the story of this book unfold.

  5. Oh Meg, I can't wait to see how her illustrations combine with your words to form an even fuller version of your story!