Friday, September 18, 2015

Getting the Job

Since my picture book, The Mermaid's Gift written by Claudia Cangilla McAdams is hitting the shelves this month from Pelican Publishing, I thought I'd share a series of posts giving you some background to the book and how it came to be, starting with the interesting way I got the project in the first place. Well, I hope you think it's interesting anyway.

I have to admit I was hesitant at first (many years ago now) to join in the FB craze (as well as other social media), but I'm glad I did. One day as I was scrolling through different feeds with a variety of FB groups, and I came across a post in Children's Book Illustrations by Kevin Johnson, AD at Pelican Publishing, looking for an illustrator. I was like, oh, cool, a possible illustration job. I shared it on my timeline and then went back to the current project since I had spent up all my social media time for the morning.

An hour or so later, my husband was doing his morning read through on the iPad when he shouted up at me, "Hey, what's going on with this illustration job post?"

I responded with an, "Oh yeah, I saw that this morning, but I haven't done anything about it."

Frankly I was a bit jaded to the possibility of this being a real job since I've been working on Elance and most of the picture book jobs on there are a joke with the writer only wanting to pay $200 or so to illustrate a full book. But my husband urged me to get on it and send an email at least.

So I did. I introduced myself, giving my schpill about my experience and passion for children's books, a rundown of the way I work, links to my online portfolios, followed up with a closing paragraph about how excited I am about the title and the possibilities. I still wasn't holding out much hope of this being a real job. Like I said, a bit jaded.

I was happy that I finally finished a mermaid painting a short time before, so I sent that along with a few other samples.

He responded later that day with a very positive note and said he'd pass along my samples. Good news. Now, I was letting some excitement leak in. Hey, like my blog title says, celebrate the little things.

The next day I got another email saying the publisher liked some of my samples, but still wasn't sure I was right for this project. She wanted to see more natural colors and realism.

She likes the style that you use on the image of the mermaids on the rocks but she doesn’t want the whimsical colors for this book she want’s things to look natural. The sky blue, the mermaid’s hair a natural color, etc.

She asked if you could provide a sketch of two characters from the book since she wanted to see if you could do what she wanted. So, I was back to being a bit disappointed. That jaded part of me again since so many jobs I'd pitched on over the last year, they wanted free samples to prove I could do what I said I could do. That's what a portfolio is for, dang it! But I did understood since they wanted to make sure I could do a bit more realistic than many of the samples I'd sent which leaned to more stylized characters. I emailed that I would try to fit in the time to do some sketches over the weekend and also expressed my concern in doing this and hoping it would put me on short list. Kevin assured me it would and that he really wanted me to work on this book.

So, I did, and this is what I sent on Monday morning.

I crossed my fingers and went back to work on another project with a tight deadline. I tried not to think about, but you know how that goes. Every few seconds Oooh, maybe I'll get that mermaid book. How fun would that be?
 Wednesday afternoon I got an email back. "You're in!"

Yay! Happy dancing.
TVW Dancing Dog

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I got the job for The Mermaid's Gift, written by Claudia Cangilla McAdams. Thanks for listening.

For your convenience, I've included links to where you can buy my book online and also a link to the really cool book trailer.

Available at:
Barnes and Noble
Pelican Publishing

Book Trailer



  1. Stunningly beautiful work. Seeing a bit of your process is a treat.

    1. Thank you so much, Mirka. I'm glad you enjoyed my work and my post. I'll be posting about my illustration process for The Mermaid's Gift soon.

  2. What a great story and your illustrations are beautiful. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your nice comments.

  3. Congratulations! Aren't you glad your husband nudged you to send that email?

    1. Thank you Claudine. And yes, I am very glad he nudged.