Nancy's Books

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Illustration Notes in Picture Book Manuscripts, part I/Calls for Submissions

This one is for you, Rosi, and others who have questions about illustration notes.

A picture book story is told with 50% text and 50% illustration. The illustrations reflect the text but carry the story beyond.

Many editors and illustrators do not want illustration notes that specify art direction, and they especially don’t want it for every page. Illustrators prefer the opportunity to read the text without notes, regardless of how spare the text might be. However, if there is a surprise in the action that isn’t conveyed in the text, an occasional note is acceptable. Example: A character is playing in the yard and a monster is sneaking around, with no mention of a monster in the text. The writer is depending on the illustration to tell that part of the story. A short, bracketed note in italics is all that is needed [monster in background].

Illustration notes are NOT needed for descriptions of setting or characters, such as green tree, blue dress, red hair, etc.

Next week, I’ll continue with part II.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

The Tapestry of Bronze is sponsoring a series of international poetry contests to celebrate Greek and Roman mythology and the Olympian gods. The subject of the current contest is Hephaestus (also known as Vulcan), the God of the Forge. The deadline is April 30, 2013.

All poems remain the property of the authors. However, the Tapestry of Bronze reserves the right to post winning poems and those receiving Honorable Mention on the Tapestry of Bronze website.

Deadline: April 30, 2013

Submission guidelines: E-mail your poem (no more than 30 lines) to the following address:

Call for submissions for young writers:

The Apprentice Writer. Categories for submissions are:

We send copies of The Apprentice Writer to accepted contributors and their teachers.
Submit individually or have your teacher send to:
Gary Fincke, Writers Institute Director, Susquehanna University, 610 University Ave.
Selinsgrove, PA 17870-1164
Deadline: March 15, 2013
Submission guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog:


  1. Thanks, Nancy! This is always a hot topic with my picture book critique partners. Very helpful.

  2. I'll have a little more info in next week's blog.