Just a few weeks ago I got the first concept sketches back from friend and local artist Rachel Justice, and thought I would meditate on the process a little bit.
1. It is scary letting somebody else take your imaginary friends and render likenesses of them. If you’re an author, you know what I mean. There is a small part of you that wants to be able to do everything. News flash: you can’t. That’s what collaboration is for.
2. It is scary even beyond wanting to micromanage the whole equation. (I cannot imagine what it is like for folks going the traditionally published route, who have no control whatsoever over what their works will eventually look like.) It is scary because you have to now let somebody else play in the playground you have had all to yourself for a long time. The fear, though, is fretting: what if they’re going in totally the wrong direction? Well, that’s why you have lots of talks before hand, email during the process asking and answering questions. That’s why they work up some preliminary concept work for you to see before anybody heads out to sea without a life raft.
3. If you are lucky (like me) and your artist is really good, your concerns will melt away when you see the concept work. I was extremely pleased with Rachel’s work, and together we got a much better grasp on the direction to go in terms of a cover, and what’s more, reinforced the fact that we were on the same page and moving very much in the right direction. I’d say easily 90% of what she gave me was just about right on the money.
4. As you give feedback on what you like and what you can combine together, and what you’re looking for, you will find yourself in a slightly giddy out of body experience and feel like a movie director working on concept art, just like in all those behind-the-scenes features. Just a little internal thing. Think of it like a tiny bonus to the whole process.
I’m excited to see what Rachel will come up with next.