SoarSoar ©2009 Sharon Rosa

When i was little, one of the things i wanted to do when i Grew Up was illustrate books. I liked reading and i liked drawing and what better career than one which combined both?

It occurred to me while working out a list of art goals for the upcoming year that i never actually did anything with the childhood dream of book illustration. Granted, i never did anything with the childhood dream of living in a treehouse on a self-sufficient sheep farm either… but i don’t want to live on a farm any more. I still want to illustrate books, though. And i have become bound and determined i will be illustrating books by the end of the year.

The most irritating bit of this particular goal is i have very few book illustration pieces in my portfolio, and most of my other illustrations don’t quite match the type of work i’m hoping to get – so i need to spend the next few months working on what will essentially turn out to be a whole new portfolio. My current plan is to illustrate some old books and stories which are now in the public domain, or newer stories licensed under a Creative Commons-Derivatives license, as that’s the easiest way i can think of to actually do the sorts of illustrations i want to do without either already having a contract or worrying about mucking about with anyone’s copyrights.

I also need to do a good bit of research on how the publishing industry works with regards to artists – for someone who’s not a professional writer, i know quite a bit about how authors get contracts in the publishing industry, but my knowledge of illustration contracts is pretty much limited to “the writer doesn’t choose the artist; the publisher does” – and even that i know primarily because it’s considered a Huge yet Irritatingly Common Mistake for aspiring authors (especially children’s authors) to send illustrations to publishers along with their manuscripts. I’m not too worried about my lack of knowledge, though; the way i figure it, it’s going to be at least three months before i have a portfolio i’m ready to shop around. I don’t expect it to take me nearly as long to research and get a basic understanding of the publishing industry.

Of course, right now the publishing industry is about as economically stable as the auto industry (minus any chance of a bailout), so i need to be about ten times as good at all this as i would’ve needed to be two years ago to accomplish the same thing (see, children, this is why you don’t delay your goals. It just makes everything harder.)

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