Thursday, May 7, 2020

Illustrator Ellen Beier Shares a Discovery Tip and the Story of Her Picture Book Coming Back from Out of Print to Be Reissued By a Different Publisher

This interview by Gayleen Rabakukk over at Cynsations with SCBWI illustrator member Ellen Beier has three stand-out moments. The first is the way that Ellen connected with one of her publishers:
Gayleen: I noticed those projects were for Asian publishers. How did you make those connections? Were there any logistical or other challenges in bringing the images to life?

Ellen: Les Misérables was published in an abridged version for Little Fox, South Korea which produces online classics for children in Asia.

They found my portfolio on the SCBWI gallery and released the illustrations serially by chapters over many months, a total of 270 paintings. I enjoyed this format that resembles graphic novel or comic frames.
Which of course, begs the question: Can publishers find YOUR portfolio in the SCBWI illustrator gallery?

The second stand-out moment was the reissue journey of a picture book Ellen illustrated, written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood (Holiday House, 2011, reissued South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2018)!

It's a story about being resiliant, flexible, and believing in YOUR story, and the impact it can have on readers. And not giving up.

Congratulations to both Ellen and Virginia on the success of the re-release!

The third aspect I found fascinating was how differently Ellen preps to do her illustrations:
With every book I read the original text—in the case of Les Misérables I also listened to the entire 51-CD set of recordings of Victor Hugo’s narrative translated into English. I purposely did not watch the newer films of Les Misérables because I wanted my take to derive entirely from the words. 
For Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (L.C. Page & Co., 1908) I did watch all the films beginning with the 1934 black and white film up to the latest version on Netflix. The publisher in this case wanted the images of Anne and other characters to be consistent with those in the public imagination.

Read the full interview with Ellen at Cynthia Leitich Smith's indispensable Cynsations blog here.

Illustrate and Write On,


Gabi said...

Wow! That's some serious commitment to research, Ellen. Fascinating interview!

Unknown said...

Love this interview! It's such an inspiring reminder that talent is rewarded with hard work and perseverance. Thanks for posting!

Nancy M. said...

Great interview, Ellen, and one that should prove helpful to all aspiring illustrators. Thank you for sharing your road to success.

Nancy M. said...

Great interview, Ellen, and one that should prove helpful to all aspiring illustrators.

Angelyn Voss said...

Ellen's wonderful work is an example of how research and persistence can have positive results.


Linda Marie said...

Ellen Beier's commitment to research and her responsiveness to context come through vividly in her art.