Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Becoming Relevant.

How does a new illustrator become relevant?

A. Know the current market before illustrating in various styles. Consider the style, niche, and genre that reflects your unique talent. Visit libraries, book stores, and book fairs to see which books are popular and most importantly...selling!

B. Be observant of the books consumers read, borrow, and purchase. If a consumer is compelled to bring a book home, either the story or illustrations are entertaining. Generally both!

C. Keep your enemies close! Research award-winning illustrators from the past five years in your genre. These illustrators are relevant and competition. Ask questions about their work. Who employs them? What makes them unique? When did become popular? Why are people purchasing their books? How many books have they illustrated? Sometimes the illustrator will post this information on a website, blog, or even share via email.

Practice Observing:

Illustrating a dog book for children? Then visit a local library. Arrange an assortment of dog books on a table in the children’s section. Make notes* if a patron skims through a book. Place a hold on any book a patron borrows. There is money in that book, find out the who, what, when, why, and how of that book.

*Notes: Document font size, color, title, and illustrative style on covers. Don’t exclude the spine either. Most books are stacked on the shelf, what catches the readers eye.

Mark Wayne Adams
CEO, MWA, Inc.

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