Cover image for What do illustrators do?
What do illustrators do?
Christelow, Eileen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
40 pages : color illustrations ; 24 x 29 cm
Shows two illustrators going through all the steps involved in creating new picture books of "Jack and the Beanstalk, " including layout, scale, and point-of-view.
Reading Level:
AD 400 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.7 0.5 30836.

Reading Counts RC K-2 4.2 2 Quiz: 18598 Guided reading level: P.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NC975 .C46 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NC975 .C46 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NC975 .C46 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NC975 .C46 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



In this informative companion to the popular "What Do Authors Do?" author/illustrator Christelow turns her attention to the visual side of creating a picture book. Employing her relaxed style and trademark humor, she shows how an illustrator develops a book from rough sketches to finished artwork, following two artists as they illustrate different versions of "Jack and the Beanstalk." Christelow answers the questions often posed by children, such as, "What materials do you use?" and "Is ithard to be an illustrator?" and reveals that the uniqueness of each book depends on many creative choices . . . and a lot of painstaking work.

Author Notes

Eileen Christelow was born in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 1943. As a child, books were a huge part of Christelow's life: they were always presents for her birthday and Christmas, as well as when she was sick. Much of her childhood was spent reading and rereading them. In high school, Christelow wrote stories for the school magazine, and planned on majoring in English in college. Instead, when Christelow entered her freshman year at college she became interested in art history and eventually found her true passion in photography.

Christelow received her B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965, and soon after she began photographing buildings for architects and shooting photo essays on urban life for small magazines. While earning a living as a photographer and graphic designer, Christelow began experimenting with writing and illustrating children's picture books. Her first published book, Henry and the Red Stripes, was inspired by a poster she created for a science museum.

Many of Christelow's books, including Don't Wake Up Mama!, Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree, and Henry and the Dragon, have been named Children's Choice Books of the Year by the Children's Book Council and the International Reading Association. A member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Christelow has published over a dozen books and her photographs have appeared in publications such as Home, Progressive Architecture, and the New York Times Book Review.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-4. In a companion to her What Do Authors Do? (1995), Christelow once again uses lighthearted watercolors in a story-within-a-story to explain an aspect of book production. Two illustrators, one with a dog, Scooter, the other with a cat, Leonard, each plan out a version of "Jack and the Beanstalk." In balloon dialogue, the animals reprise the fairy tale and humorously comment on their owners' progress with the pictures. In roman type, Christelow supplies a clear, informative synthesis of the illustration process--from deciding which scenes to draw and making a dummy to designing the jacket and showing off the finished product. Like the earlier book, this one captures both the creative spirit behind the work (the artists show off their very different interpretations on the last double-spread picture) and the practical, giving children such a good idea of what's involved, it won't be long before they're illustrating a favorite story of their own. --Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Christelow escorts readers behind the scenes for a fascinating peek at the creative process in this companion to What Do Authors Do? Here she tracks the efforts of two fictitious artists, showing their different approaches to illustrating the same story ("Jack and the Beanstalk" serves as the example). Christelow funnels information through a triple conduit: cartoon panels display the artists at work; a lively subplot features a dog and cat and their running commentary; and chunks of straightforward prose hold the visual elements together. For all the many components, the end result is cohesive and easy to follow, and the amount of material covered is impressive, e.g., how a picture book evolves, from dummy to finished product, and such concepts as scale, perspective and point of view. Medium is discussed and, more importantly, depicted in a concrete way; Christelow demonstrates how the same illustration would look if rendered in, say, pencil as opposed to felt-tip pen, or watercolor as opposed to colored pencil. The roles of editors and designers are also briefly touched upon. By alighting on a subject with which her audience has some familiarity, Christelow instantly engages interest, and by keeping the proceedings briskly informative and fun, she ensures that readers come away with a real appreciation of both the artistry and effort involved in illustrating books. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-In this companion to What Do Authors Do? (Clarion, 1995), Christelow gives readers a great deal of insight into the creative process while entertaining them with a story (actually two) within the story that tells the story of how picture-book artists work. Two illustrators share studio space and, as it turns out, each one of them sets out independently to create a new version of "Jack and the Beanstalk." Readers are clued into the situation and the various choices and dilemmas facing the artists by their pets, the woman's dog Scooter and the man's cat Leonard. In breezy but informative conversations, the animals discuss the deliberations and determinations about the books' sizes and shape, concepts such as point of view and perspective, and decisions about typeface and medium. In addition to the brief text, the pages are filled with cartoon panels, dialogue balloons, and spot drawings. The pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings are expressive and engaging throughout. Children will come away from this effort with a bit of knowledge about how books are made and an appreciation for the hard work and talent involved in telling a story through pictures. Better than a magic bean, this title is sure to spark youngsters' curiosity and creativity, and when that happens-as everyone knows-the sky's the limit.-Luann Toth, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.