Illustrating a children book & Time Management

  • Hello Everyone! 🙂 I was wondering about your experiences on illustrating a children book. I'm very aware that depending on your style it won't take the same amount of time to complete. But I would love to hear about your personal experience and how long did it take you? How do you manage your time? Do you set a certain amount of time every day or are you working more by goals that you wish to complete? There are two great books called "Daily Rituals : How artists work" and "Daily Rituals : Women at work" by Mason Currey which I LOVED TO READ. And I would love to hear what are your daily rituals! 🙂 Have a beautiful day! 🍀

  • Tagging @xin-li for this. I know she recently did a book on a really tight deadline. I'd be interested to know if she has any thoughts on time management.

  • @TessaW yes indeed. I did a 40 pages of a picture book in less than 3 months. It was crazy and I would not recommend doing that😛 . I think for my style a comfortable time for illustrating a picture book will be 4-6 months.

    I followed advices from @Braden-Hallett and @NessIllustration on setting mini-goals along the way and do the illustrations in batch (do all thumbnails, and then move to do all rough sketch, etc).

    Mini goals help me to re-adjust my schedule along the way. For example, if I planned to finish the rough sketches for half of the book in 10 days, and it took 15 days in reality. I have to look at my schedule to see if I can work during the evening and weekend to catch up, or if I need to contact the editor asking for more time.

    I worked in normal office hours daily, and my schedule is not very flexible due to having a toddler. In a way, it was nice, I was "forced" to take a break from 3:30 to 7:00ish because I have to pick up the kid and make dinner. Some days I worked a bit in the evening when my husband was putting the kid to sleep.

    One big realization for me:
    I highly recommend taking short breaks from the project even if you are under tight deadlines. I did 15mins yoga once or twice a day (just make sure to not break my back). I was also taking breaks to paint other things that are not related to the book (to take mental breaks from the project). I actually painted some of my best personal works during those 3 months, weirdly.

    I think the ideal setting for me will be having 2 book deals at the same time and work with them in parallel for 10-12 months, instead of doing one book at the time.

  • Pro

    @FloR Yup like @xin-li said, batching is huge! I will usually look at all my deadlines and write them down in my planner. I will figure out what I need to finish when in order to hit those deadlines. For instance, I need to finish research by x date, I need to finish thumbnails by x date. When I hit the internal sketches stage (which I'm actually in the middle of right now for my newest book!) I will divide further. For instance if I have 12 spread sketches to do and 60 days to do them, that means I have to finish a sketch once ever 5 days. To be on the safe side I'll do 2 sketches a week, then take the remaining time to review my work and do tweaks. In my weekly planner, I'll write down those 2 pages every week that it applies in the weekly goals section. Then each week, at the beginning of the week I look at all I have to do and I will allocate a time slot to do these. I usually have a lot of other small projects going on at the same time, so I have to make sure to fit in everything. Planning each stage of the book like this helps me make sure I'm working at the right pace to complete the project. My current book has a final deadline in July, which means currently in my planner I have weekly goals of what I need to achieve that week to be on time for that ultimate deadline. Whenever I'm offered a new project, I'll look at my planner, see what's already there and figure out if I have time to fit it in somewhere. At the beginning of my career I would say yes to everything and overbook myself, ending up working day and night to hit deadlines. At the time I would think "oh that's okay, I'll fit it in somehow, I'll make it work!" That's why I need the strict system now LOL

  • @NessIllustration Awesome! Thank you for sharing this! I find the time management and organisation of each person to be a very interesting topic. I'm actually working pretty much the same way as you :). But as it is my first book, I haven't accepted any other commissions. That would be way too much pressure 😂 This way, I can make sure to devote all my time to this. But I realise it won't always be possible 😬 Have a beautiful productive day! ❤


  • @xin-li Very Interesting! Thank you for sharing this!!!! Yeah, taking breaks is important. I actually have a mat next to my drawing table to make sure I stretch every few hours 😂 Wishing you the best with all your projects (just checked out your work! I love it) 🙂

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