How do you know when you’ve found ‘The One’?

Readers, you haven’t mistakenly visited a dating site. ‘The One’ I’m referring to, is an illustrator. That wonderfully, talented creator, ready and willing to marry your words with faithful, kind and nurturing artistry. Imagery that makes your text sing, shout, giggle and shows more of your story than even you realised was there. I’ve never been a big believer in falling in love at first sight, but the day I ‘met’ my illustrator (we’re still yet to meet in person!), I fell hard.

I’d placed a call-out in an Australian authors and illustrators’ Facebook group, for anyone interested and available to chat more about the possibility of working together. I received half a dozen responses from a variety of illustrators, with varied experience. One comment stood out above all the others. She was kind in her response, and provided a link for me to look at her online portfolio. I didn’t have to browse long before deciding that I wanted this talent bringing my story to life. That talent, is the wondrous, Anil Tortop.

Anil and I emailed back and forth about my manuscript and the ‘vision’ I had. She was incredibly accommodating and quite open to my amateur ideas, taking everything I suggested into consideration and being honest with her feedback. This relationship, I have come to learn, is one advantage of self-publishing. Often, through traditional publishing, the author and illustrator do not meet or discuss during the creation stages. Whilst I see benefits of this, for example, giving the illustrator freedom to create, and respecting their expertise and ability to work magic, I also find the ‘no interaction’ approach a tad cold and removed. Having a happy medium, where ideas are welcomed from both creators, without domination or disrespect, allows for a true relationship to flourish on and off the book pages. These are just my thoughts, though. You may feel differently.
Once the manuscript was ready and storyboard drafted, I emailed them to Anil for her approval. Did she take this story to have and to hold, from this day forward? She responded with a big, “I do!” (Well, perhaps not those exact words, but in keeping with the whole ‘one-love’ theme, you catch my drift). 🙂
We signed on the dotted line, committing our creative selves to the book, and Anil began working on the first sketches. I vividly remember opening the email containing the sketches. I cried. I cried the happiest tears that I’d cried in a long time. She nailed it. Each and every page sang a song I had been singing to myself for months, but no one else had heard. Somehow, Anil heard and she pitched every single note perfectly. My melody and her instrumentation. One song
The next stages of illustrations were as glorious as the first. Watching the story come to life was nothing short of magical and I’m thankful every day that we found each other.


If you’d like to take a peek at Anil’s fine work, click here and here.

I’d love for you to share your experiences, working with an illustrator or author. How did you find the working relationship? Are you independently or traditionally published?

As a reader, which are some of your favourite author/illustrator relationships? Who works well together?

3 thoughts to “Finding ‘The One’

  • debratidball

    Thanks Renee – a beautiful post as always 🙂 I only met and spoke with my illustrator, Leigh Hedstrom, after ‘When I See Grandma’ was finished, but she, too, miraculously heard my heart through the story. I too, cried when I saw her first roughs and knew my story was in the best possible hands. We communicated through the publisher (wombat books) and Leigh was always open and happy to take on feedback – believing that it would lead to the book being stronger. I certainly get the love allegory – the author/illustrator relationship is one of connecting hearts.

  • Renee Price

    Thank you, Debra. And thank you for sharing your author/illustrator relationship. Leigh’s artistry certainly married well with your endearing words in When I See Grandma. Wombat Books saw a ‘perfect match’ with you both. 🙂

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