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A couple weeks ago I was exchanging e-mails with journalist Charlotte Eyre at The Bookseller magazine, and was pleased when this article came out, quoting Axel Scheffler, Ted Dewan, An Vrombaut, Simon James and me about how illustrators are disgruntled about being left out of so many mentions of their books.

You can read the full article online, but here's a clip:

It's why I argue that people should say 'writer and illustrator' not 'author and illustrator', since BOTH the person writing and the person drawing are telling the story. Both are authors. (You can read a more lengthy article I wrote about this a few months ago: Why I hate the word 'author'.)

So I was shocked today to read the feature article in The Bookseller, lauding Michael Rosen as the creator of the enduring picture book We're Going on a Bear Hunt with an obvious lack of reference to its illustrator, Helen Oxenbury, although the article used her images. Here's the beginning of the online version (hidden behind the paywall):

Click here for more under the cut...Collapse )


( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 19th, 2015 03:05 pm (UTC)
I don't have much experience in this subject. I'm just an aspiring illustrator. But as I was reading this article, I asked my 13 yr. old daughter sitting next to me, "When you first started reading, what made you pick up a book?" She looked at me like I was stupid and said "The pictures, of course". My son is 10 and not the most excited about reading. When we're at the library looking for books, you know what hooks him? The picture on the cover of the book. Most often said "This looks like it might be good."

That old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words", it's true!

The book business needs to catch up.
Feb. 24th, 2015 12:43 am (UTC)
The only thing that has shocked me
The only reason I have considered giving up in this industry is the dog-eat-dog behavior that can manifest in this industry. I both astounds and disappoints me. I want to create beautiful children's books but the discriminatory community makes it impossible.

I gently requested to be rightly credited in my books but even recently I stumbled upon a book launch I wasn't told about. If not for social media I would never had known. I offered to share contacts to duel promote a book only to have the author hijack them. I lost interest in promoting or working as a team as a result.

I sat in the audience at a major convention for our launch while I heard them announce the launch of the "author's book" was humiliating. I was left off the written credits and if not for asking there and then if I was going to get up too I would have been left watching it from there. I felt like an idiot getting up after that. The same topic was raided by a well known illustrator and the publishers there agreed publicly but we still wait for more changes.

Like you say, illustrators don't care much about the fame but we need to be seen to eat. This is impossible if our own industry regards us as the hired help. Illustrating our own books is far more appealing.

Great article!
Feb. 24th, 2015 12:55 am (UTC)
Being an author is like wearing a suit
I have been treated at functions and school visits depending on my role. If going in as an author I am guaranteed more respectful treatment than as an illustrator. It is like walking in in a suit rather than ragged clothes. There is definitely a star status attached to the perception that an author is extra special. People automatically think you're wealthy too - as an author of course. If an illustrator, you're asked for a lot of freebies - love job or promotional benefit, after all, everyone knows we need that of course!
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Sarah McIntyre

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