Friday, September 20, 2013

Making the Deadline: Submitting the proposal



I had set September 20th as my personal deadline to submit my proposal to a publisher. Today, on 9/20/13 I dropped hard copy of my proposal at a publisher's and also sent the proposal via email. SO now the waiting begins. 

Since my last blog-post I redid two illustrations and completely reformatted one page using PhotoShop. I bought the program this week, and my friend Maddy showed me the basics. It really is amazing what it can do, even without an experienced operator!

I learned how to make pages, how to erase, how to add and edit text, how to work on layers. It's really a super tool. I thought that technological applications had no place in my hand drawn art. But it's so neat the way that you can modify a drawing, move elements around, copy all or segments of a drawing. For example, this box turtle can now be introduced into other pages than the one on which he was originally drawn.
Box Turtle
He was on a page that was originally formatted to be vertical, but now the page is horizontal. I was able to redesign the page in a few minutes, rather than having to redraw eleven images. I was even able to re-size things to better fit the new format. PhotoShop is still a mystery to me in many ways, but it has saved me hours of work and it was certainly a big part of what allowed me to meet my deadline.

So what now? I have submitted a proposal. I know that it will be weeks - or more probably - months, before I hear back from the publisher. So what will I do while I wait? This weekend and next week I will focus on other projects: the program for the Ole Bull Music Festival, creating my fall garden and making a kaper chart for my Girl Scout Troop. But the following week, I plan to get to work on other illustrations for my book. 

It has become clear to me that, just as the text improves with each revision, so the illustrations become more finished with each iteration. Every time I work with pen or pencil, I find new ways of making the illustrations come to life. Working on the same drawing over a period of time allows the drawing to evolve. I see the early versions of some of the pictures and I wonder that I thought they were pretty good. Now I see how very much better they have become with repetition and revision.By the time the book is published, I hope that they will be something to truly enchant my young readers.

I will also continue searching for pictures on line and in nature to use as references.
Photos like this one of dew on clover will help me to improve the drawing of clover wet with dew. I will continue to study other artist's work. My dear friends Gene and Ashley just sent me a wonderful book called Show and Tell by Dilys Evans. It promises to provide hours of enjoyment and many revelations about other artists and their work in illustrating children's books. There is so much to learn!

I'll be busy reading for the Book Fair, gardening, Scouting and working for The Spunky Norwegian Foundation, but I'll be on the lookout for emails or letters so I can report to you on the next stage in writing and illustrating a Caldecott winning book.

Til then, I will work on polishing my writing, my illustrations and my patience. I expect they will all be stronger by the time I hear "Yay" or "Nay."


  1. Congratulations, Nancy! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  2. Thanks so much. The waiting is fine as I'm busy doing other things, including thinking of a new picture book version of a chapter book I wrote. Happy autumn!!