Hurrah - all my changes to the roughs are done and I have emailed them off to Egmont!
I thought you might be interested to see some of my 'before' and 'after' drawings, to get an idea of why changes are requested and to see how they can improve on an illustrator's original idea.
For those who've not been following the progress, the 1st book Baby Goes Baaaaa! is about baby having fun making sounds with Mum or Dad. It has a cast of 26 animal characters making the sounds for baby to copy. I wanted to re-use them all in the sequel, Baby Can Bounce!, which is this time about sharing simple actions.
Each creature in turn demonstrates an action, which they share with a new character: a little spider, who appears on every page. These are my 'before' and 'after' drawings of the baby anteater, who is on the page Baby can... shake:
The feedback from my publisher, when they saw the piggy-bank idea, was that it was an object that would mean more to a slightly older child, rather than the target 1 - 3 years. Fair point. They suggested the maracas, which I think work well:
Note that I had to change anteater's stance, as you hold youself differently when you shake maracas.
Another one that needed a substantial change was Baby can... tickle. The monkey triplets all appear together in book 1, so I felt all 3 needed to be here too. As you can see, in the original version, I had two of the monkeys giggling at the spider tickling no 3. Egmont worried that the actual tickling action, which baby would recognise, was missing and needed to be more obvious. Right again. So I made one monkey tickle the other, instead of just watching:
Mia, our neighbour's baby, loves to wave 'bye bye' to us, so I knew I needed a Baby can... wave page. When I was deciding which page to put where, I realised that waving was the obvious end to the book.
Originally I just used rhino and cuckoo, the 2 characters who don't appear elsewhere, but my editor suggested that we ought to put a few more animals in it. Great idea and much more of a fitting finale:
The reworks have at this stage only been submitted and not yet accepted, so there might still be further changes needed. It's very much a team project: a good illustrator needs to know how to let go and adapt because, most of the time at least, the suggested changes are for the better, the result of a fresh set of eyes.
It's important to stick up for yourself too though, on the odd occasion when, after sleeping on it (always a good idea), you still feel strongly that the alterations won't work. That's when a good Art Director or Editor should also know how to listen and adapt..!