#BookADay: ONE WORD PEARL by Nicole Groeneweg and Hazel Mitchell, plus advice for aspiring children’s book illustrators
Pearl loves words. All kinds of words. Words make up songs, stories, poems . . . and what does a lover of words do? She collects them, of course! But one day, most of Pearl’s words are blown away, leaving her only a few which she keeps safely in her treasure chest.
After that day, she uses each word carefully—one at a time, until she has no words left. When her teacher asks her questions at school, she doesn’t answer. When her friend wants to know what she has for lunch, she can’t respond. What will Pearl do without her precious words? Will she ever find them?
One Word Pearl explores the power of words to transform, inspire, and cultivate imagination.
I was delighted to interview the illustrator of ONE WORD PEARL last year. Do check out Hazel Mitchell’s interview for a great peek into her process (lots of photos) and advice for aspiring children’s book illustrators.
HAZEL MITCHELL’S ADVICE:
Attend all the conferences/workshops you can afford (and some you can’t) and absorb information.
Learn the craft. Children’s book illustration is an art-unto-itself. Study the masters, attend workshops where great illustrators are teaching. Go back to college if you need to.
Draw. Draw. Draw. There is no substitute for drawing.
Read. Read. Read. Immerse yourself in discovering new and old picture books, illustrated middle grade, cover work, graphic novels.
Find your voice … how do you do that? By drawing and learning and imitating and seeking critique and then finally becoming unconscious of your style. Then you have found your illustration voice.
Work on your portfolio. A portfolio for children’s illustration! Creating a website portfolio is very important! Tell people you exist!
Mail out, submit, direct people to look at your work.
Be open. become proficient in social networking. It’s free and it can benefit you in unbelievable ways. But always give back.
Seek out other illustrators and create a band of brothers.