The Artwork Is Coming!

By Carol Hinz
Editorial Director, Millbrook Press

Working on an illustrated book is always exciting—you’re never completely sure how the book will look until the artist sends in the final art. Art often comes to us digitally (whether it’s because the artist works digitally or because the artist scans or photographs the finished pieces), but we still work with plenty of artists who mail in the final art.

It’s always a thrill when final art comes in. I carefully bring the package down to the book’s designer and let the designer open it. (I don’t want to damage anything!) The designer then spreads out all the art in the conference room and calls in the art director and me to come take a look at it.

When Craig Orback’s art came in for John Greenwood’s Journey to Bunker Hill by Marty Rhodes Figley (part of the series History Speaks: Picture Books Plus Reader’s Theater), we took a quick video so you can get a sense of what it’s like to have all that wonderful art spread out in front of you. Craig used oil paints on canvas for this book. The art actually came in a tube because Craig rolled up all the canvases before sending them. If you look closely, you can see that some of the edges of the canvases still have a little curl in them. I’ll also point out that Craig likes to work at a size larger than the actual book, so if the canvases look big, it’s because they are. You’ll see a letter from Craig that was included with the art—it’s a standard 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper, if that helps to give a sense of scale.

After we admire the artwork, we send it out for scanning. And after the high-resolution scans come in, the designer can place the art in the layout and soon we’ll have a finished book!

P.S. Yes, the title of this blog post is meant to be a play on the phrase “the Redcoats are coming” since this particular book is set during the American Revolution.