View Full Version : The old and the new --- opinions pelase

05-09-2004, 09:52 PM
I've been posting artwork for a children's picture book that I've written and have illustrated. Recently I managed to get an agent interested in taking it on. She has sent it to a number of publishers - Harper Collins, Penguin, Abrams, Random House, Disney, Scholastic, Candlewick Press, to name a few. The responses (I've read them) indicate that they all know her well and repsect her, but each has rejected the manuscript and illustrations. What took me by surprise is the reason had more to do with the art than the story. They liked the story... they thought the art was not right. hmmm... humbling!!!

So, in discussing this with my agent over a nice lunch outside of NYC, we decided I should try again with a new style. Below are pages 4 and 5 in the old and the new. What do you think... The first is the old and the second is the new.



I'm also changing the story just a bit, so there are some visual inconsistancies between the two versions, but the style differences are apparent and that is what I am seeking opinions about.

05-09-2004, 10:07 PM
I love the second one which I assume is the new one, I use to be a Pre-school teach and love book like that for little kids, the pics are almost more important than the words as the kids will add to the story from the pics and that gets them envolved with the whole process and I often found books where the image filled the page worked very well!!

05-09-2004, 11:32 PM
Phil, glad to see that you might be on the verge of publishing your excellent illustrations. You've worked hard and it shows. Both styles are excellent, but If I had to choose, I would say that I like the old style better. It seems to be more focused and impactful at first glance. My sense is that kids will be drawn to it more readily. _Good luck Phil!

05-09-2004, 11:33 PM
I believe it looks more interesting in the new way , regardless of the publisher's final decision.
I cleared my mind and, sincerely, i feel that the second version gets me involved more into the picture than the first, maybe that's because there's no human in the new version.


05-09-2004, 11:48 PM
Good job on both, and good luck. I also prefer the second version, and have a feeling the publishers might as well since it looks more hand drawn and "loose". Inrtestnig use of txet there. :)

05-10-2004, 12:32 AM
HI Phil...

Your both illustrations are wonderful..... that's a given.

However, for a child's book, wonder how the page would look with way less images and more bolder color. So that the pictures tell the story without hearing or reading the words. Your's seems to have too much to take in and a lost focal point.

Always hesitate to offer an opinion that might meet with disappointment... :)

05-10-2004, 02:21 AM
I like the old one best. Can't give you a good reason why other than it's just more appealing to my eye.


05-10-2004, 05:31 AM
I love both the illustrations..... err its hard to choose a favorite.

If you pinned me down and kicked it out of me for a childrens book I would probably go with the second.

05-10-2004, 10:42 AM
i like the second best, as well. it's a little more inviting than the first version; the zipper, in particular, looks much less threatening and head of oz-ish to me. the more muted colors also help make the scene slightly less chaotic and more accessible. the boy, also, looks less like ron from the harry potter movies.

05-10-2004, 11:14 AM
They are both terrific but I tend to agree with GoldCoin, I'm a grandma who reads to her g/kids and I find I also like to look at the pictures to tell me the story as well as to read the words and it's always fun to hear what the little ones ( before they can read ) tell you about the story as they look at the pictures :)

05-10-2004, 04:15 PM

Let me just say these pics kick booty! Amazing stuff, you were holding out on us...

As for which I like best, I'd say the new one. First less white of the page, which to me is a complete waste of space which should be filled at all costs. Secondly the action in the new one is clearly apart of the story and I didn't even read the words. The first version seem like spot illos of the characters, they don't interact cause you've broken up the space with the white of the page, and unlike a comic book, they have no word or thought bubbles to keep us thinking they are animated...

Goodluck with this project, looks like a winner!


05-13-2004, 03:52 PM
Very impressive illustrations...top notch! :clap:

The story itself would make little sense to kids I think. I like the idea, but perhaps you went a bit too far into alienese for most folks.

05-13-2004, 06:00 PM
I think the artwork has a very interesting style. The problem I have with it is that it's a little gray–meaning I have trouble distinguishing positive and negative space.

I would suggest paying a little more attention to hierarchy and bringing the most important things to the front by using contrast of some sort. Some of the less important things are too busy and call too much attention, confusing the eye.

Also, I don't know if you are responsible for the typography or what methods you are using (and of course it never looks good in a jpeg) but you might want to either offset that from the illustration or tie it in in a meaningful way.

05-13-2004, 08:56 PM
The story itself would make little sense to kids I think. I like the idea, but perhaps you went a bit too far into alienese for most folks.

Are you referring to the complete story as seen at http://www.luckylou.us/index.php?via=wpPs or the text on the above picture...??? (which of course is just placeholder greeking)

05-13-2004, 09:18 PM
I just checked the book out it is lovely when is it being published?

05-13-2004, 11:32 PM
I agree with Edie, it's a great story and the illustrations are wonderful

05-13-2004, 11:34 PM
Elvira... Hopefully a publisher will pick it up. My agent has sent it to about a dozen top publishers, all of whom have rejected it. They didn't like the artwork - too "mass market", which means not unique enough. That's why I redoing it in a style that I've been thinking about for some time - influenced by James Thurber, Shel Silverstien, Williams Steig drawings and Babette Cole's illustrations, all some of my favorites.

05-14-2004, 02:15 PM
i also think you have done well with both .. i have my 4 year old here with me and she likes them both but is more interested in the second(new one) but like ive said they are both good.. so hang in there someone will agree with us.. and you will get the deal you are hoping for.. and tell us when the book is out ( well so i can go get it) and im interested in knowing the process of how to go about getting a book together other than the story and images.( is it difficlut?) (please :D )...
well ive been in the works for sometime on book project / not my story but have been asked to illustratee.. so all hints i will be greatly appriciate .. good luck to you ...kim

05-14-2004, 02:55 PM
I think the best is the last version!!! Nice subject!!! Keep going...! :clap: :clap: :clap:

05-14-2004, 06:25 PM
im interested in knowing the process of how to go about getting a book together other than the story and images.( is it difficlut?) (please :D )...

It is certainly more difficult than I originally thought... 30 years ago. I've been trying off and on for that period of time to get a children's picture book published. Thi sis the first (of perhaps 6 attempts) that has attracted the attention of an agent.

Today it is particularly difficult, as I understand it, because publishers have cut back on children's picture book publishing. It is expensive with generally minimal gain. Hopefully when economic times get better, the publishers will once again spend more time on picture book publishing. I'm also pretty sure there is little chance of getting a book published in these times without an agent.

05-14-2004, 08:32 PM
Don't give up - keep being persistant and you'll get it published, I'm sure.

05-15-2004, 12:07 PM
Here is another comparison between the old and new. The new version looks a bit busy when reduced for website display, but when it's printed at book size, its an eyeball feast of little details to search for and find.

The old:

The new:

05-15-2004, 01:11 PM
I prefer the new version again, so good job improving on what you have already done. Personally, I'd like to see some kind of transition between the two pages/frames of the little boy moving across them. I know the binding might make that hard to do, but it'd be cool to see more connection. Other than that I think it looks terriffic, and I like that the longer you look the more you see. What's the story about?