"Three Heads Are Better Than One: An Author, an Editor and an Illustrator Collaborate Together" by Kate Narita
I know, I know. The idiom is “two heads are better than one,” not “three heads are better than one.” But in this case, I cannot imagine 100 Bugs! A Counting Book existing without the editor, Janine O’Malley or the illustrator, Suzanne Kaufman. If you read this blog post https://epiceighteen.weebly.com/blog/100-bugs-a-counting-book-from-manuscript-to-book-by-kate-narita you can read about how the manuscript morphed into 100 Bugs! over time as a result of collaborating with Janine and Suzanne. Today, I’m going to highlight aspects of our collaboration that I didn’t cover in the Manuscript to Book post.
First off, I want to credit Janine O’Malley for finding Suzanne Kaufman. In case you don’t know, most authors don’t pick the illustrator, the editors do. When Janine emailed me Suzanne’s rendition of the candy-striped leafhopper, I couldn’t believe my luck. Suzanne’s vibrant, detailed rendition of the leafhopper was more beautiful and accurate than I could have ever imagined. Janine continued to make superb decisions that created the best book possible. If you want to read about how Janine changed the beginning and the end of the book as well as how the Macmillan team chose the book’s title, please refer to the post above.
My excitement didn’t stop with seeing Suzanne’s artwork though. It continued because she reached out to me through social media which is unusual. Many authors don’t have any contact with the illustrator of the book. One of the changes that occurred as a result of this contact, which I didn’t mention in the previous blogpost, was the type of bugbane featured in 100 Bugs! Originally, I had included a bugbane with green leaves Actaea americana, but Suzanne wanted to feature Actaea simplex because the purplish leaves complemented the other colors in the composition.
The best part of collaborating with Suzanne was having the opportunity to meet her last summer when my family traveled out to Seattle. The four of us met Suzanne for lunch, and she showed me her sketchbook for 100 Bugs! which was amazing. Then, she gave me an amazing gift—original artwork featuring the characters in the book.
Collaboration creates a stronger piece of art and presents the possibility of life-changing relationships. So get out there, collaborate and create. It will change your life.
100 BUGS! A COUNTING BOOK by Kate Narita illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
Farrar Straus Giroux June 12, 2018
Available everywhere books are sold.