Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Children's Illustration - Kirsteen Harris-Jones

This was one of the best talks this week. Kirsteen is an ex-student from Glyndwr and is currently represented by Bright Agency. This talk was extremely useful and helpful. Kirsteen talked us through the process of working with a client, and producing a children's book. She described it as:
  1. You get given a brief, then you either accept or decline. If you accept, you then receive the contract
  2. When given the contract, always check the royalties. If you feel they're not as much as you would like, then speak to your agent, and they can negotiate for you
  3. Once you've signed the contract, you can start drawing!
  4. You come up with a series of cropped, clean pencil sketches. Do you're interpretation of the brief, and write why you have chosen to do this in the margin
  5. Scan them, and send it off. Wait for the response
  6. The pictures come back with scribbles on from the client, stating what parts they want changing and adjusting
  7. Once all your drawings have been approved, it's time to go onto final artwork, at this stage, the client may change their mind, or not like the final pieces. In this case, you must be professional and resolve any issues that they have
  8. The golden moment your first published book arrives!
Kirsteen also gave some really handy tips during this talk. These included: when working with a agent, you have to trust them completely! A lot of late nights are involved for most jobs, so you've got to be prepared for this. You have to be professional and see each job through to the end, and treat each job the same, no matter what you're getting paid for it. It's really important to keep on top of your paperwork!! Keep files for your sales orders, invoices and contracts from each job. Expect to wait anywhere between 3-5 months before being paid. The average price for a picture book is between £3,000-£4,000, and this is paid in segments. Be prepared to chase outstanding amounts yourself; using sticky notes is a good way to do this; keeping them on projects that haven't been paid yet, and the deadline. Kirsteen also told us about registering for PLR or ALACS (if an author). These give you an annual income from library borrowings of your books; I hadn't thought of this, and hadn't realised you could do this, so that was a useful piece of information. It is also important to develop a thick skin, quickly, and to make a presence; get yourself known to publishers, sending postcards out every 3 months, so they don't forget you, and to get on everything, social-networking wise.

This talk was so engaging, and there were lots of invaluable tips and pieces of information in there. It really opened my eyes even more to how the children's illustration industry works.

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