Are you happy with your illustration career? Do you have any regrets? I certainly do... I have made many mistakes in my career! But there is one thing that I never expected doing and that I am very happy about: working on chapter books.
Back when I was starting out, creating picture books was the dream. Picture books are so clever, and beautiful, and full of possibilities… Oh, aren’t they gorgeous? I wished I could make my own.
These days I ask my students what’s their goal, and guess what they tell me... They want to make picture books!
But sometimes what might look like a detour is actually a step in the right direction. So even if working on chapter books is not where you imagined your career going, I'd suggest you give it a try. And here is why...
Benefits of illustrating chapter books:
It’s a great way to get into the children’s books market.
You will learn the process of children’s books publishing and (usually) collaborate very closely will a designer.
Most chapter books are conceived as series, which means you’ll have a constant source of work (and money!).
It’s easier and faster than making picture books, so alternating both kinds of projects tends to work amazingly well.
The work is not as intricate, so if you create by hand (like me) it's typically more portable. – That’s why I’ll be working on my next chapter book while traveling through Europe!
It will make you a stronger illustrator by forcing you to focus on certain aspects of illustrating that you might otherwise overlook.
You will get a lot better at achieving characters’ consistency.
It will make you a faster illustrator! – I used to be the illustrating equivalent of a sloth… now I’m just a turtle!
You will gain loyal readers that will buy the rest of your books.
It’s enjoyable! Chapter books are usually super fun to read, so have fun doing some research!
If I’ve inspired you to give chapter books a chance, consider coming to this workshop I’m teaching:
With editor Victoria Rock. At Book Passage (Corte Madera, CA), on June 15th 10am-1pm.