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November 11, 2012
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Can someone explain something about children's book illustrating to me?

:iconnerdchaos:
NerdChaos Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Writer
There's one thing I don't get. Even good, professional-quality artists can apparently draw a good picture in a few hours or so from my understanding. Professional webcartoonists can draw an entire comic page in that time. Plus, in children's books the art is often really simple.

Yet, somehow, it seems like every professional children's book illustrator out there (including authors who illustrate their own work) says illustrating a book takes close to a year. How does that work?

When I've illustrated my books, it's been a fairly quick process. Sure, the art I use is simple, but it fits the story and is fairly decent. Can someone make sense of this for me? It makes me feel like I'm somehow doing something wrong :(
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:iconariensmith:
ArienSmith Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm currently illustrating a children's book. I mean, I'm a full time student, so that takes a lot of time away, but dear Lord....it takes a lot of work. There's a ton of planing, character development, proofing, then the sketching, inking, and painting. You also have to do color planning and stuff. Oh, and lettering. I started the project in the beginning of the summer and I'll be shocked if I finish it by May.
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:iconvineris:
Vineris Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
When you draw your own book you don't have to e-mail anyone and ask "is this what you were looking for?", wait for an answer, and then possbily re-do all the parts they didn't like. Half the work of doing something for somebody else is communication and administrative work. The last illustration I did, and it was just ONE illustration, now has an e-mail trail of like... 30 e-mails. The illustration itself only took about 11 hours of drawing, but about 2 weeks passed in realtime from "Hey we want you to do a thing" to "Thanks for the final picture!" Multiply by 32 and you have spent 64 weeks on a picture book. You can probably compress some of that because you don't need to sign 32 contracts for one book, so that easily brings you down to about a year.

And that is why picture books take forever.
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:iconnerdchaos:
NerdChaos Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Writer
Fair enough, though I've heard the same thing from people who do write and illustrate their own books. Though I'm not sure I've ever heard it from someone who self-publishes, so that may have something to do with it.
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:iconvineris:
Vineris Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
The publishing process for a book takes about a year regardless of how much actual work the artist is doing on that one project. Very few people spend 8 hours a day every day on writing and drawing the same thing. There are some artists who work very quickly, though, and some that work very slowly.

The other thing is that most of us are terrible procrastinators.
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:iconnerdchaos:
NerdChaos Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Writer
For the record, I can't argue with the rest either.
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:iconnerdchaos:
NerdChaos Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Writer
Can't argue with that last one. My first book took only a week to get written, illustrated and published. My second book took all summer and then some purely because of all the time I spent procrastinating on it :P
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:iconvineris:
Vineris Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
At least you got it done! :)
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:iconnerdchaos:
NerdChaos Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Writer
Fair enough.
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:iconslategreen:
slategreen Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Well, I would hardly think that Jumanji or Where the Wild Things Are are made up of illustrations that took only a couple hours a piece. I suppose it depends on how much time the artist devotes to his craft.
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:iconnerdchaos:
NerdChaos Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Writer
Hmmm...that would explain it. I always focus on one book at a time and go from pure instinct :P
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