Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

What do illustrators do?

What do illustrators do?

Eileen Christelow
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 10
Clarion, 2007   ISBN: 978-0618874231

People of all ages who live all over the world love picture books. We love the way illustrations compliment the text, or in some cases, the way pictures can tell a story all on their own without any words at all. How do illustrators do what they do?

This is the story of two illustrators who live next door to one another. Both of them have decided to tell the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Their pets, a dog and a cat, know that they have both chosen the same theme and they are keen to find out how their people are going to go about telling the Jack and the Beanstalk story.

Picture book fans, both young and not-so-young will greatly enjoy seeing how a picture book is put together. They will learn that most picture books are thirty-two pages long and that illustrators do a lot of planning and rough sketching before they begin the final artwork. There are so many things to think about and to consider when one is working on a picture book and it is not uncommon for illustrators to make mistakes as they work that need to be fixed.

Using the two pets as amusing and instructive observers, Eileen Christelow tells a fascinating story about the creative process that illustrators use to craft artwork for picture books. Readers will be astonished to find out how complicated this process is and they will come to appreciate, more than ever, the skills that are required to create a picture book.