At The Bookseller‘s recent Author Day, author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre made an impassioned plea for the campaign that she founded, #PicturesMeanBusiness, calling upon authors, publishers, publicists, and everyone else in the world of books, to give due credit to illustrators.
As if we needed a reminder of the enormous talent of the illustrators that add interest and value to our books, Sarah spent most of the conference creating fantastic cartoons of all the speakers, including ALLi founder and director Orna Ross. The Bookseller‘s editor Philip Jones was sufficiently impressed to use her portrait of him in his editorial column the following week, duly credited, of course! Over to Sarah…
When asked, everyone I know says they love illustration and support illustrators wholeheartedly. Yet illustrators continue to suffer career setbacks when:
- Illustrators' names are left off covers of books they’ve illustrated (even highly illustrated). Sometimes publishers even forget to put illustrators’ names inside the book. (This happens most frequently with ‘middle grade’ illustrated fiction.)
- The artwork is used as branding for a writer (for example, on the writer’s website), but the illustrator never gets mentioned, implying that the writer did the artwork.
- Publicists launch illustrated book cover artwork to great fanfare, mentioning only the writer’s name.
- Media interviews and articles talk about a picture book as ‘by’ the writer, leaving out the illustrator’s name even though the book is mostly pictures.
- Many award websites list only writers of books.
- Reviewers neglect to mention illustrations in their reviews, even when the pictures tell much of the story.
- Teachers lead their classes in studying a book without mentioning the illustrator or studying the book’s illustrations.
How to Support Illustrators
- Publishers (including self-publishers/author-publishers) – be attentive about your Nielsen data! Whoever is entering the data, make sure they know it's essential to include the name of the illustrator. Nielsen can only work with what you give it. If a book is highly illustrated, include the illustrator's name on the front cover of the book.
- Agents – insist on this in the contract.
- Authors – when you show off a beautiful new book cover for the first time, mention the person or people who make the cover happen, and credit the illustrator on your website.
- Publicists – mention illustrators and cover artists. Be sure your Advance Information sheets include illustrator data.
- Illustrators – research metadata issues. Ask questions. Get a Twitter account, even if just to have a website link. Be vigilant about your contracts. Get credits in writing. Sign your artwork whenever possible.
Find out more about the campaign at its website, www.picturesmeanbusiness.com.#Authors - why and how you should credit your illustrators - inspired by @jabberworks' #picturesmeanbusiness Click To Tweet