cover image What Do Illustrators Do?

What Do Illustrators Do?

Eileen Christelow. Clarion Books, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-395-90230-1

Christelow escorts readers behind the scenes for a fascinating peek at the creative process in this companion to What Do Authors Do? Here she tracks the efforts of two fictitious artists, showing their different approaches to illustrating the same story (""Jack and the Beanstalk"" serves as the example). Christelow funnels information through a triple conduit: cartoon panels display the artists at work; a lively subplot features a dog and cat and their running commentary; and chunks of straightforward prose hold the visual elements together. For all the many components, the end result is cohesive and easy to follow, and the amount of material covered is impressive, e.g., how a picture book evolves, from dummy to finished product, and such concepts as scale, perspective and point of view. Medium is discussed and, more importantly, depicted in a concrete way; Christelow demonstrates how the same illustration would look if rendered in, say, pencil as opposed to felt-tip pen, or watercolor as opposed to colored pencil. The roles of editors and designers are also briefly touched upon. By alighting on a subject with which her audience has some familiarity, Christelow instantly engages interest, and by keeping the proceedings briskly informative and fun, she ensures that readers come away with a real appreciation of both the artistry and effort involved in illustrating books. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)