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An Illustrator's journal where experiences are logged in as pictures with a word or two added from time to time.
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There are a few times a week that I will get an email or phone call about my rates or availability for children's book illustrations. Sometimes these come from publishers and sometimes they come from those who wish to self publish.
Each time I need to craft a personal reply to the person and each time I find myself answering the same questions over and over but in different ways. So here are some things that will help those who are planning to hire an illustrator for their book.
1. If you have a finished, edited, and great manuscript, by all means, submit it to a trade book
publisher. They will pay you in some form, hire and pay the best printers and help you market
your book. You do NOT need any illustrations to submit your manuscript unless you are also the
2. To find out who might be the best publisher for your book, get a copy of the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market. It is published each year and always available on Amazon.com.
This volume lists all interested publishers, their contacts, their terms and what they are looking for.
It also includes international markets, magazines, contests, agents and wonderful articles from artists and authors as well as publishers and editors.
3. If you have been through the process and months have gone by with rejections or no responses
and you feel your work is so good that it must be seen, then you may choose to self publish.
This is a leap of faith. You will be choosing your illustrator, paying a fair market price for the
artwork, paying to have the book printed, paying for design and book layout, paying for
distribution, paying for any marketing and doing your own sales wherever you can find a venue. Your indie bookstore may or may not, host a signing. You may market your books at the outdoor market places, or at events that you set up. Some schools have book nights where you can sell
4. When you hire an illustrator remember that you are hiring a professional. You need to be
prepared to pay a fair market price. Depending upon the length of time it will take to illustrate
your book, the amount of research needed, and any unusual requests you may have you will
pay a rate that could be several thousand dollars or many thousands of dollars.
5. My illustration costs for self publishers are shared with them after I have seen either the
whole finished and properly edited manuscript or at least a detailed outline of the work.
I ask that so I can determine if my skills will match the content of the work, and if I can do my best work for the client. Because I can also do the layout, create the PDF for the printer and provide full color cover and interior artwork my rates are based on those factors.
6. A contract is issued with payment dates, artwork dates, copyright restrictions for both the author and the illustrator. Work can take from 3 to 6 or 7 months to complete.
Stages of the work are paid for in sections as the work is completed and approved.
7.) Any artwork that has been finished and approved by the author is final. However, if changes are made after the final approval a fee per hour for any changes will apply.
8.) Getting a trade book publisher to acquire your book is a long process but will be to your best
9.) Should you decide to self publish your work contact the illustrator of your choice and together create a contract that is fair for both parties.
This moHalf Past Winter ~
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Age Range: 4 - 6
Hardcover: 28 pages
Publisher: Virginia Nielson (2014)
What to expect: Bears and Adventure
Half Past Winter is an adorable tale of two bear cubs and their adventure to find winter’s first snow. They grow impatient in their den when no snow comes and decide to explore until they find snow. Their journey does find snow; however, they end up in the middle of a blizzard and become lost. This heartwarming story follows their adventure back home to their mother and cozy den. Little ones will love to follow the two cubs’ adventures and will giggle with what they find. The story is simple and succinctly told and is a great read for early readers.
The colorful and animated illustrations are outstanding and allow little ones to read the story through pictures. The illustrations are excellent interpretations of the narrative world and allow children an opportunity to begin to develop cognitive storytelling.
Illustration copyright © 2014 by Ginger Nielson: HALF PAST WINTER
This is an emotive story that draws empathy from the reader—especially when the cubs are lost and then reunited with their mother—making it a great choice to open up discussion on emotions and feelings about others. Half Past Winter is a superlative bedtime book for children ages 4 to 6.
About the Author
Ginger Nielson is a full time author/illustrator who lives at the top of a hill, near the edge of a forest, in semi-rural New England. There is a magic wand on her desk, a dragon in her basement, and several tiny elephants in her studio.
Sometimes the bright sunlight lures you outdoors. Today is one of those days, and hopfully I will attack some of the ice that is covering the walkways and the deck. I need to get to that before the next snowfall. Snow is much easier to remove and deal with than ice... unless it is two feet of snow.
A New Year and more new beginnings. I have a habit of wanting to do too many things at once. I guess the ideas won't leave me alone. But I am trying to make more lists and prioritize them. That way the stories I have planned won't get lost somewhere. The current project, Gunther's Excellent Adventure is underway. Outside assignments may interrupt the process, but I welcome them. They pay for the paint.
And as I continue I am also studying many videos and images as references for this new project.
It got a bit colder lately and things outside are icy. With new rain and a warm up for a few hours... we wait to see what's next.
When the Cat's away.... the mice will play and play and play.
It is hard to believe it has been so long before updating anything on the blog. I try to keep up, but fortunately the assignments I have can keep me busy for longer than I think. I wish you all a blessed Holiday Season, Merry Christmas and Happiest times in the New Year to come.
In the spirit of giving and receiving, the forest animals share what they have.
This is a busy month, but I will try to keep up. Here are November 1 late but okay
for a start. #SkADaMo
The assorted collection of useless tools. Have fun deciding if any are actually used for any purpose.
Good morning, Good Afternoon and Good evening wherever you happen to be:
A BIG thank you to Patricia Keeler who tagged me for this blog tour. I know Patricia from our association CBIG-NYC or the Children's Book Illustrator Group based in New York City. Although we have never met, I feel an artistic bond with this talented artist. Her paintings depict the most delightful aspects of all children. You can see more of her work on Patricia Keeler's Blog andher Website, I LIKE BOOKS With PICTURES
This time it is my turn to tell you about a character in a picture book I am creating.
What is the name of your character?
Lenny is a very lonely, but hungry dragon. It has been given an enchanted cookie by a little man with a rather wicked sense of humor. That little man loves to play tricks on the forest creatures.
When and where is the story set?
The story opens in the forest but soon moves to a castle kitchen just as Catherine, the
cook, and her helpers, Trevor and Amelia are preparing a huge birthday dinner for the Queen.
What should we know about Lenny?
Lenny is an especially lonely and hungry dragon, but the favorite food of this particular dragon has unexpectedly become something other than what you would expect. Even the dragon doesn’t understand why its tastes are so particular. Fine china, crystal goblets and the Queen's favorite Golden Bowl seem too tempting to resist. (I would suggest that the forest trickster has something to do with this.)
After gobbling up most of the china in the kitchen including the Queen’s favorite Golden Bowl, the dragon is chased throughout the castle by all the staff with swords, daggers and brooms. It can’t get away unless it makes its way into the deep caves below the castle. Hiding and hungry the dragon is lonely, afraid, and in danger.
What is the personal goal of your character?
This poor dragon desperately wants to be free of the caves, return to a normal life of eating what it really wants, and find one or two true friends.
But what about that Golden Bowl?
You can see more of my work on my website
and once there you can find my books, and more about how I work.
I have the pleasure of passing the Meet My Character Blog Tour
to two amazing children's book illustrators: Look for their introduction to their characters next Monday, Oct. 27. Christine Mix Blog
and Christine Mix Website
It was just after Christine Mix graduated from the University of South Florida in 1988, with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Mass Communications, that she painted her first children’s illustration in watercolor, titled Spike & Wordo’s Magical Wish. Hence, Spike the Dragon was born and Christine realized she had found her niche in art and her future.
Her children's illustrations can be found in Stories for Children Magazine, Back- to- School- Issue, 2012, in SCBWI’s Bulletin in 2005, 2009, 2010 and so far, one children’s book, Write Out of the Oven! by Josephine M. Waltz & Illustrated by Christine Mix, published by Teacher Ideas Press / Greenwood Publishing, 2005. As a children’s author, Christine has one non-fiction short true story, Standing Up, that was published, in Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul Character-Building Stories to Read with Kids, Ages 5-8, May 2007.
Christine is currently working on her second PB story & dummy, featuring Spike the Dragon and some ghoulish friends.
I have the pleasure of also passing this task to Amy Cullings Moreno. This will introduce Amy Cullings Moreno
's Blog...And you can find her website and portfolio here
I have been creating children’s illustrations and art since I was a child. I have always enjoyed reading, writing and books, and creating art. The combination of these passions led me to study commercial illustration in Boston at Butera School of Art, where I specialized in children’s illustration.
I enjoy creating images that inspire and uplift, as well as sharing my faith in a Good God, and hopefully allowing that faith to shine through my art.
My husband and I live in Northern Virginia, and we have three wonderful grown children who have been much of the inspiration for my children’s illustrations.
I am currently studying oil painting again, and finding great joy in it. I hope to add more of this style to my newer illustration work.
Sometimes I get emails from other artists and authors asking how I work. I used to have this information on my website, but when I reduced the size of the site, I left that part out. So here is a brief bit about how I work and where I work.
My studio is small.. only about 10 feet by 10 feet... and if that sounds like a lot... it isn't once you fit in two huge desks. There is one for the hardware and one for the drawing boards and paints.
In addition to those there are 8 bookshelves ( all filled) and two file cabinets, one rolling taboret, a large floor cabinet for storing paper and providing a place on top for the wide body printer, a CD cabinet (looks like a card catalog) another set of three oak flat file drawers...on top of a third table, and a dry mount machine.
Add to this the brushes, pens, sketchbooks, assorted small stuffed and ceramic animals, boxes of scraps for the children to use in creating their own masterpieces, and on and on.
In other words, the space gets used. Since I only sit at the drawing board or the Cintiq I have room for me in there too.
But that is only the beginning... How I Work is a bit different.
I enjoy the option of drawing just about anywhere in the house or outdoors. If I am upstairs with family I can carry a box of pencils and a sketchbook. If I need something from those drawings I either scan or photograph them and move them to the computer.
Most of the time I use a very large drawing pad on the drawing board in the studio. I like to make BIG sketches. It seems to let the lines flow more freely. Those can be painted or photographed for later. They are always way too big for the small scanner I have.
If I transfer work to the computer, I paint with Painter 2015 and / or Photoshop. The final results are always open to more traditional painting if I think it would make the work better.
When I am happy with the work I will print out a copy on the wide body printer and check the color and texture. If the work is for a book I am illustrating the last step is to convert the final computer image to CMYK so that it can be printed by most printers. Sometimes I can just submit in RGB..but always have to ask first.
For some of the authors I work with, I will also do the layout in InDesign and convert to a print ready PDF for their chosen printer.
A review for the Star Giver by Katherine Boyer.
There is nothing as sweet as a child who asks questions about the world around him or her. “Why is the sky blue?” “Where do babies come from?” are the two that immediately come to mind. In this case, Little Bear wants his mother to tell him where the stars come from. It gives her a chance to tell him a Native American folktale that will entertain him as well as relate a fascinating story..
With beautiful l illustrations done in Native American colors, Mrs. Nielson illustrates the story, as it unfolds through the word of Mother Bear and the imagination of Little Bear.
The Star Giver holds the stars close until night, when it is time to release them, then waits until morning to finish his task. You will love sharing this story with your children at bedtime, as well as any other time of the day. And she tells you to look for the “secret on the last page of this book”. What is it? You need to get the book to find out. From her website: “Ginger Nielson lives at the top of a hill, near the edge of a forest in semi-rural New Hampshire, USA. There is a magic wand on her desk, a dragon in her basement, and a tiny elephant in her studio. Everything else is nearly normal.” Sounds like a great place for her imagination to run rampant through the wonderful, imaginative stories that she illustrates, whether that of her own or another writer.
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Of course it would be a novelty if Pigs really could fly... and someday one of them just might!
Our parents beautiful Log Home is for sale. On a hilltop in Southern Vermont it is both a hideaway, a peaceful retreat, and a place where the family and extended family can enjoy 67 acres of beauty, sports, and fun year round.
By Ginger Nielson
Paperback: 34 pages
Age Range: 3-7
Publisher: Virginia Neilson (September 1, 2014)
What to expect: Folktale, Bears, Stars, Illustrations
Ginger Nielson tells a soothing folktale set deep in the forest. When Little Bear asks, “Where did the stars come from?” Mother Bear leans in closely to share a Native American legend from “the far, far north.” Illustrations rich in deep nighttime colors create a peaceful visual to the comforting story of a man, made of stars and the branches of pines, who forever continues to spread starlight across the night sky. This man is known as the Star Giver.
“His gifts are hidden under an enormous cloak. Yet the starlight beneath sparkles through and lights his way wherever he wanders.”
Each night, the Star Giver travels through the forest to the sea. When he reaches the shoreline he opens his cloak and allows the wind to blow his stars into the aquatic scenery.
Illustration copyright © 2014 by Ginger Nielson from “The Star Giver”
The sea tosses them with “towering waves until they escape to the sky” where they stay until morning above the slumbering animals.
Illustration copyright © 2014 by Ginger Nielson from “The Star Giver”
The Star Giver remains quiet and still until he opens his cloak and calls for the stars to return to him.
Illustration copyright © 2014 by Ginger Nielson from “The Star Giver”
Dramatic brush strokes swirl across double page spreads expressing emotion and providing movement to the illustrations.
The nature of the story is mystical and therefore sure to open the slumbering doors of dreamtime if chosen as a bedtime read. Recommended for children ages 3 through 7.
About the Author
Ginger Nielson lives at the top of a hill, near the edge of a forest in semi-rural New Hampshire, USA. There is a magic wand on her desk, a dragon in her basement, and a tiny elephant in her studio. Everything else is nearly normal. Coming to the world of children’s illustration a bit later in life, Ginger was an elementary school teacher and art teacher before becoming a travel agent. Both of those careers enabled her to connect deeply with many children and many different cultures. To date she has illustrated over 45 children’s books. She is busy creating illustrations for other authors and writing and illustrating her own stories as well.
From the Reader Views : Review for the Star Giver
THE STAR GIVER
Ginger Nielson Children’s Books (2014)
Reviewed by Miles Cassells (age 4) and Mom for Reader Views Kids (07/14)
It’s time for bed and Little Bear looks up into the sky and asks Mother Bear where the stars come from. Little Bear must close his eyes and listen carefully as Mother Bear tells the story of the Star Giver, a man made of stars and branches of pines.
“The Star Giver” by Ginger Nielson is a beautiful story to read to young children when it’s time for bed. Not only did Miles love reading the book, he loved the illustrations. A few pages in, Miles said that “we need one of those on Earth.” (He has quite the fascination with knowing that we live on planet Earth.) When I asked him what he loves best about the book, Miles replied that he loves the bears and the man with the stars in his coat (cloak).
“The Star Giver” is a brilliant take on what to tell children when they ask where the stars come from. The story is told by Mother Bear to Little Bear at bedtime and explains how the Star Giver tosses the stars into the sea and the sea tosses the stars into the sky so that creatures below can sleep peacefully.
Bedtime can be such a hassle with young children and I surely have this issue with Miles almost daily. We like to read a book before bed and I always try to select a book that is calm and that will lead Miles into understanding that we need to rest for the next day. Having such a peaceful story to read to Miles is always at the top of my list.
“The Star Giver” by Ginger Nielson will be a go-to book for many nights to come, I can already tell as Miles has had me read the story to him more than once. Ginger Nielson is a talented author and illustrator and I hope that she has more books in store. I highly recommend this title to others as “The Star Giver” is surely a fresh new way to look at the stars.
Another review for The Star Giver arrived in my mail today. I would like to share that and another image from the book. I am pleased to say that the review reflects the gentle tone of the book.
The Children’s Book Review | www.thechildrensbookreview.com
By Ginger Neilson Paperback: 34 pages Age Range:3-‐7 Publisher:Virginia Neilson (September 1, 2014) ISBN: 978-0991309337 What to expect: Folktale, Bears, Stars, Illustrations
the forest. When Little Bear asks,
the branches of pines, who forever continues to spread starlight across the night
sparkles through and lights his way wherever
the forest to the sea.
his cloak and
3 through 7.
—The Children’s Book Review(www.thechildrensbookreview.com)
This is a new trailer for The Star Giver....
Read the rest of this post
The newest adventure in my own books as author and illustrator is now available on Amazon.comThe Star Giver
is the legend of the very far, far, far north that answers Little Bear's question: "Where did the stars come from?" When Mother Bear settles her little one down for the night's rest, she tells him of the legend that has been handed down from bear to bear since bears first walked the earth.
"Deep in the forest
Where the wind never blows
In a far away cave
Where the sun never shines
Lives a man made of stars
And the branches of pines."
The Star Giver will soon be available as a hardcopy book as well.
There is also a Kindle Version of the book, but having the book in your hands is worth the few extra dollars.
There has always been something about the magic of a quiet starlit sky that creates a peaceful world for the creatures below.
Here is a link to the trailers for my two new books. These are a first for me as I wrote, illustrated and published both. There are more to come, but for now enjoy these two labors of love....Half Past Winter ~ Two curious cubs off to find their first snow The Star Giver, A legend from the far, far north.
Making Flying Tissue Paper Fish
I start with a large size tissue paper. You need two sheets to start.
On one sheet draw the outline of a fish. It doesn't need to be perfect, just kind of "fishy" looking.
Next I cut out the two pieces and glue just the top edges together. You can use a small amount of Elmer's or a tombow glue applicator ( available from scrapbook Pals at a discount
Then I start on the top layer at the back end and glue on tissue paper rounds that I cut from the multicolored tissue leftovers I have. Or you can order a whole pack of tissue in various colors from any art supply place or buy several colors at a gift and card aisle. By working from the back to the front you can layer the tissues as if they were scales.
When you finish one side and place an eye where you want it, you turn the whole thing over and do the other side. The fish is still open at the front, back and bottom. Once you finish both sides, stuff the fish with left over scraps of tissue or thin newsprint or even news paper. Then gule the Bottom ONLY...leave the mouth and tail ends open for now.
I like to cut long strips of tissue to make a fancy tail. Since the tail end it open still it is easy to insert the strips inside the tail end.
To finish off the fish I poke a hole in the mouth end and put a string in there about 3 feet long. Then I tie the string to a balloon stick or any stick and if you lift the fish up by this you can "fly" it around.
Another option is to hang some of the fish on a porch or balcony in good weather and let the wind blow them around. Our little ones like to "fly" them as they run through the yard on a sunny day.
You can make ANY size, big, little, medium or even teensy and have a lot of fun making them.
Actually the most fun IS in the making and enjoying the fun you can have together.
I have made these with a room full of adults and children and the results are always amazing on so many levels. It is fun to see parents, grandparents, caregivers and children enjoying the process.
HINTS and Words to the Wise:
Don't over use the glue if you are using Elmers
If you are using the tombow applicators .. go lightly so you don't rip the tissue. Little ones may need help with either.
You should be able to click on this page of fishy eyes and then drag it to your desktop for printing, or maybe you would rather make your own funny eyes.
Whatever you decide, I hope you have a lot of fun!
It was such a pleasure to read this review of the STAR GIVER.
"5.0 out of 5 stars
Exquisite paintings and flowing words, April 18, 2014
This review is from: The Star Giver: A legend from the far, far north (Kindle Edition)
I read a lot of picture books, and this one bowled me over!
The illustrations are amazingly beautiful. The text is lyrical, and children will enjoy the story - especially at bedtime!
I purchased this book as a Kindle ebook, for two reasons. Firstly, to see what a good picture book looks like on Kindle (from following Ginger's blog and looking at the sample, I could tell it would be good!) Secondly, because I can see it immediately and not pay for postage to Australia.The Kindle edition works well on the Kindle app on my laptop and Android phone - though the text doesn't resize, you can zoom the pictures a little larger. On my Kindle Touch, which is only black and white, some of the images work well but some don't have enough contrast to be easily read in greyscale.
I'm very happy to have this lovely ebook."
Recently a friend suggested I make more use of Pinterest. So I have updated two boards with images and books I have either written and illustrated or illustrated for other authors.
This is the page of illustrations I wanted to share.
and This is the page that contains a list of my books.
I am new to GOODREADS as well and there I will be taking part in a giveaway of the book
HALF PAST WINTER . The giveaway window is from May 8 until June 19. Once that window closes, Goodreads will choose 5 lucky winners and I will mail each a signed copy of the book.
This morning I packed up Five copies of Half Past Winter and sent them first class to the five lucky winners of the drawing for this book. I hope those five families enjoy the story as much as I did creating it. These little cubs remind me a lot of children I know and have known. Children are always curious about so many things. They love to find new ways to explore and have many questions that need to be answered. Clarence and Alexander decided to find out on their own what SNOW was like.
When they found it they also encountered a few problems.
Getting lost in a super snow storm was one of their problems. Finding the best route home, they decided to climb into the branches of a strong tree.
They crept WAY out to the end of the high branches for a better view.
But it really looks like that was not such a good idea after all.
Half Past Winter ... is available on Amazon.com in all three versions, Hardcover, Paperback and Kindle.
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I received a wonderful review for the book I wrote and illustrated: The Star Giver.
I hope it will be an invitation for many readers to download, or purchase or ask their bookstore for a copy.
Midwest Book Review
"The Star Giver" tells a story from Native American lore of the far north answering Little Bear's question: "Where did the stars come from?" A beautifully illustrated bedtime story, "The Star Giver" depicts a mysterious being from a deep dark cave who carries the lights of all the stars hidden under an enormous cloak. Each evening the Star Giver travels the dark forest pathways to the sea, where he opens his miraculous cloak and tosses the sparkling stars into the sea. The sea tosses the stars on waves to the sky where they twinkle on all creatures below who spend the night in peaceful sleep. The Star Giver waits quietly by the sea until morning, then he opens his cloak and calls the stars home to him. Before dawn's light strike the sandy seashore, he travels home to his dark cave with all the stars under his cloak until the next evening. Nothing can keep the Star Giver from his nightly pilgrimage. After a succession of stunning, darkly swirling, sparkling pictures, the closing page shows Mother Bear with sleeping Little Bear, saying, "Now go to sleep, Little Bear, under this blanket of stars, and wait with the Star Giver for a new day to begin."
Children's Bookwatch: July 2014