What Do Illustrators Do?

by Eileen Christelow

Using a tale familiar to some children, Christelow uses her own full color illustrations... read more

Using a tale familiar to some children, Christelow uses her own full color illustrations to demonstrate how two artists might make entirely different decisions while developing illustrations for “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Her fictional artists work in separate studios in the same building and she’s given each a pet, making it possible for her to personify the pets and provide them dialogue concerning the artistic process. One of the artists is a brown-skinned man who explains his book dummy and rough sketches, while thinking about beanstalks in general, what Jack might look like and the overall design of his book. A white- skinned woman is the other artist character who transforms Jack into “Jacqueline,” along with pondering literal point of view and perspective. Life models are discussed briefly, as are differences in style and approaches to book jacket illustration. Each artist ultimately shows preliminary plans to an editor and then to a designer in separate publishing houses. Only then does each begin the labor-intensive creation of finished illustrations. A fine companion to Christelow’s What Do Authors Do? (Clarion, 1995) developed using similar comic strip conventions. (Ages 6-10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2000

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