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The Magic of the Collaborative Process by Anna Staniszewski

The Magic of the Collaborative Process by Anna Staniszewski

Anna Staniszewski visits the art blog today to talk about her author experience with the collaborative process for her new picture book “Power Down, Little Robot.”

Power Down Robot coverWhat I most love about picture books is their ability to transform words into an experience that goes far beyond the text. That ability became even clearer to me when I first saw Tim Zeltner’s illustrations for Power Down, Little Robot. I couldn’t believe that my spare text had been the inspiration for an entire visual world.

When I was writing the text, I had visuals in mind, of course, but like a good picture book writer, I tried not to force them on the story. I didn’t put in notes for the illustrator, and I kept my descriptions minimal, focusing only on things like movement and sound that couldn’t be easily conveyed in images. If a certain detail was important, I tried to hint at it without stating it. For example, when Mom Unit takes Little Robot’s hand in hers, I specifically used the verb “clamps” to imply a non-humanoid hand, but I left it up to the illustrator to figure out the rest.

As I worked on revisions with my editor, I wound up cutting text to make more room for the illustrator. For example, in an early version of the text, I mentioned that the robots “rolled down the hall,” but I later took details like that out since they didn’t seem necessary to the story. I had to trust that if my words weren’t moving the story forward or developing the characters’ relationship, then they didn’t need to be there.

When I saw sketches for the book, I was amazed at how the illustrator took things I had written and interpreted them in a way I hadn’t imagined. When I wrote the story, I was imagining that it was set on Earth (or perhaps on a robot version of Earth). Instead, the sketches set the story in space. Robots in space? Brilliant! It was perfect for the story and something that I probably wouldn’t have come up with on my own.

Seeing how much the illustrations have pushed the story beyond my original vision has made me appreciate the collaborative process even more. When you have so many creative minds working together, the end product is bound to be richer and fuller than anything one person could come up with on his/her own. It really does feel like picture book magic.

Anna StaniszewskiBorn in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and eating far too much chocolate. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series, the Dirt Diary series, and the forthcoming Switched at First Kiss series, all published by Sourcebooks, as well as the picture book Power Down, Little Robot, coming from Henry Holt in March. Visit her at www.annastan.com.

Get those resolutions off to a good start with a blue print

Get those resolutions off to a good start with a blue print

Are your 2015 resolutions off to a good start? If you are like most artists I know, you have “create more art” on your list. But is that enough? Every creator wants to create more of their vision. It’s nearly universal to want to make more of what we’re so passionate about. But passion can only get you so far without a concrete plan. A solid goal. A yearly blue print, as it were.

My good friend, Bob Ostrom and his incredibly talented pal, Carlos Castellanos have taken it upon themselves to guide us through our vague ideas and really make sure we push our 2015 resolutions off to a good start.

It’s one week into the new year, but it’s not too late to sit down and really come up with a plan that will work. Go through their DBS Blueprint and make your 2015 the best year ever. Get yours now: http://drawnbysuccess.com/success-blueprint/

About my guests:

Carlos Castellanos is an award winning illustrator and co-creator/artist of the popular nationally syndicated comic strip ‘Baldo’, the first Latino family comic strip syndicated in the U.S. by Universal Press Syndicate to over 250 newspapers nationwide and executive producer of the animated Baldo TV series.

He is a speaker, consultant and trainer to ad agencies and graphic arts organizations, has been interviewed by radio news and TV networks including CNN En Español.

He is the founder of DrawnBySuccess.com, a site dedicated to his passion of motivating, inspiring and coaching artist and illustrators on the realities of how to achieve greater success through the marriage of their art and businesses. His mission is to help artists discover their light, their point of view and their unique creative solutions that entertain, educate, inspire and increase their value in the marketplace.

His belief is that practically any creative professional can transform their creative passion into a healthy income, enviable lifestyle and go from Starving to Thriving once you make the decision to take full responsibility and a ‘no-excuses’ approach to achieving the success you desire.

bob-with-markersBob Ostrom is children’s illustrator who’s art has appeared in over 250 children’s books. He also teaches courses in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, children’s book illustration and competitive napping. You can find Bob and the following locations.

To learn more about Bob and his art please visit: http://BobOstrom.com

To schedule a tutoring session, learn Illustrator, InDesign or Photoshop please visit Bob at his teaching site… now 100% gluten free!!! http://BobTeachesArt.com