Over at Debbie Ridpath Ohi's wonderful Inkygirl site, this interview with Kelly Light had some great stuff, including this piece of Kelly's advice to illustrators:
"Stop wondering what they want. Stop looking at other people's work. Make the art that is YOU. The art that you were born to make.
Debbie: What advice do you have for those interested in illustrating middle grade novels?
Kelly: I think what I can say to those who wish to illustrate MG chapter books is - It's all about character. You are drawing for 7-11 year olds. These kids want to know the characters. This is the age when the characters are your friends. The characters help you get through some crazy changes in your life. They want to connect- SO be specific with the "WHO". WHO is the main character?... draw them so they feel real...like they could sit next to them at school. Who are the friends and the side kicks and the adults? They should all have something recognizable to the reader, just like in real life, no matter how unrealistic you may draw them. They should FEEL real. Also... bring THE FUNNY. This age loves to laugh. The illustrations in MG can really add humor and another layer to the text. I am a true believer in Laughter is the best medicine- and this age group wants to laugh their way into and through their tweens... Having some strong black and whites of the right age kids in your portfolio in REAL moments that happen in 4th grade- 5th grade. Braces. Awkwardness. Cliques start to form. Girls travel in packs. Bullying or standing up to it. School stress. Being bad at sports. Someone is an underdog. Science Fair explosions... There- I gave you some ideas!!
You can read the whole interview here. Thanks, Kelly and Debbie!
Illustrate and Write On,