I have a special treat for today’s Writer Wednesday feature. I had the opportunity to virtually meet Shira Glassman through the Torquere and Prizm author lists; Prizm is Torquere’s Young Adult imprint. Shira recently signed with Prizm and her book The Second Mango comes out next week on August 21st. I asked Shira what it’s like to work with artists and our conversation turned into a guest post. Take it away, Shira!
Working with artists to commission promotional artwork for The Second Mango, due out from Prizm Books on August 21
by Shira Glassman
I’ve been lucky enough to work with about half a dozen extremely talented ones with the Mangoverse project, and they’re all different! Perhaps the most involved has been my good friend Jane Dominguez, who is a professionally trained graphic artist for a local design firm. It helped that she read the books in their first draft and really enjoyed them. Seeing some of her initial drafts, however, made me realize that I wasn’t describing my characters in nearly enough detail. That was an unexpected benefit I got out of the experience–seeing how well I’d put on paper what was in my head. (Luckily, that was over a year before I ever signed any publishing contracts, and the version I submitted to Prizm had much better fleshed-out descriptions.)
Jane has drawn pictures of her own, but she also inks and colors the pictures of some of my other artists. I’ve learned that there are different styles for coloring; she used a digital “colored pencil” effect for the artwork depicting my protagonist’s childhood holiday memories, and a watercolor effect for a landscape image.
Mina does the line work for most of the artwork that I have in manga styles. Her ‘chibis’, or childlike cutesy representations of the characters, usually blow me away with how she manages to capture the full range of human emotion with just a few lines. She also has a more serious manga style that takes longer to draw. When we work together, I have to make sure she takes breaks so she doesn’t get tired out, or else she’ll sit there doodling for hours without stopping! Working with her has also been interesting because she hasn’t read the books yet (she’s waiting for the release), so I had to be very careful not to slip up and reveal spoilers and surprises. I’m sure she’s guessed some of them anyway.
Erika lives far away, so we communicate long-distance. She, like all my other artists, is exceptionally patient about my polite but very specific demands about tweaking this or that seemingly unimportant detail. Erika is a published author herself so I’m thrilled that she’s willing to take time to frolic in my world as well as her own. Her style is graphite realism, and I feel lucky to have benefited from her astounding growth over the past few years.
Rachel doesn’t draw as much as she’d like to, possibly because she’s too busy playing professional tuba or giving belly-dancing lessons — have you ever heard of a more fascinating combination of pursuits? But she’s got real talent in both conventional Western cartoon art and in the “chibi” manga style. I’ve also had other friends get involved in the characters, and send me their drawings. Everyone has been a pleasure to work with.
Working with an artist can be very rewarding, because it can give your imagination a rest, and give you a better idea for how to describe your world and your characters. A good artist to work with will be someone who enjoys your creation and will also be patient with your requests for revision. I hope I pay them fairly, for what they do for me is priceless.
All art displayed features characters from The Second Mango. Kissing picture by Jane Dominguez. “Food is love” and Dragon drawn by Mina V. and inked by Jane Dominguez. Napping with Dragon by Erika Hammerschmidt. Rivka with her sword drawn by Rachel Matz and inked by Jane Dominguez.