Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jim Hoover: Picture Book Illustration: From Portfolio to Bound Book

Jim Hoover presented 3 case studies of books he has worked on and described the process by which each came to grace its creator's resumes .... and bookstore shelves. During the session he passed around copies of illustrations and printer's proofs.

First was The Roller Coaster Kid illustrated by Roger Roth, this book is ultimately about a family dealing with tradition and loss during a yearly trip to a Coney Island style theme park. Jim passed around copies of Roger Roth's beautiful watercolor images and talked about the significant consideration given to choosing a cover image. Ultimately an image of the main character standing in front of the iconic twisty roller coaster. He described how the illustrator Roth planned to hand letter part of the title to make it match the style of the cover and how he personally appreciated it when illustrators are willing to take that on.

Next up was Blue Chicken by Donna Freedman. This engaging book was quite the logistical equation as each character was going a different direction, getting into a different mess. Jim described how the copy editor's became essciential  to keeping the characters with their correct conflicts while Freedman sorted out the action in the illustrations. Jim explained that this book was an example of how everyone in the publishing food chain can have a hand in making a book a success. 

Finally, was Rat and Roach. Author / illustrator David Covell plans to control every aspect of the book. Jim said his job basically "is making he knows the deadlines." While this is unusual in the publishing process its a good example of how editorial will work with a book creator, even to the point of not working with them, to make a book become the writer's vision.

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