Friday, November 12, 2010

dePaola, Picture Books, & Cake

In honor of PiBoIdMo, I give you Tomie dePaola interviewed by Lin Oliver.
You're not an artist?
Well, writers, listen for his definition of a picture book. Illustrations are as important as the words that spring from your ideas!

So who has the best deal in this author/illustrator collaboration - the making (baking) of a picture book (cake)?

Is it the author who writes a recipe, lights the oven, gathers the ingredients, and whips up the batter; or is it the illustrator who bakes and decorates the cake?

Is it harder for the writer to worry about whether the cake will be perfectly baked and beautiful, or is it harder for the illustrator to worry about whether the recipe is pleasing and the ingredients have been measured correctly enough to produce a delicious cake?

Authors? Illustrators? How do you see it?


  1. Gale,

    This was very interesting! I plan to pass it on to some other writer/illustrator friends. Thank you! I think getting a picture book published would be my greatest accomplishment. I keep trying. I know illustrator and writer are both important, but the picture book depends on great illustrations that expand and enhance the story. My hat's off to artists.

  2. GREAT video, Gale.

    I see picture books as a true partnership. The words inspire the illustrator and the illustrations inspire the writer. Each should compliment the other. To use your analogy, a plain cake can be delicious and a bowl of just icing can be a joy, but put them together and it's heaven.

  3. Linda,
    Yes, having a picture book published (especially these days) is a great accomplishment. Don't stop trying.

    Thanks for the comment. I think you're a little idealistic about the illustrations inspiring the writer. Since the text is set before the artist starts working, the author has nothing to say about the illustrations. How the words are going to be illustrated is an author's worry. We've both been lucky with our illustrators.

  4. Great clip and post, Gale. The pb authors I know work their butts off to get their words just right, but seeing an illustrator bring those words to visual life seems like the best possible reward for their efforts.

  5. But sometimes, rarely I'll admit, a writer is asked to put words to illustrations. Of course, I can't think of an example now …