Q: I am writing a picture book. Should I include art specs for each page? Or should I just explain the general idea in the cover letter and hope the editors will “get” what I’m visualizing for the art?
A: A picture book text is 50% of the story. The other 50% is what the illustrator brings to the table. Specifying art direction for every page of a picture book is strongly discouraged and will flag you as an amateur. You should NOT provide art direction. That’s the illustrators job to come up with something. Something better than even you can imagine. However if there is a “surprise” in your story that can’t be conveyed in the text or some other thing happening in the pictures that would be stupid to put in the actual text, then an illustration note is in order. Illustration notes should only be included if they facilitate comprehension of the story. Otherwise, let the illustrator do his job! Don’t try to tell the editor that the kid’s coat has to be red because that’s what you see in your head. Those sorts of notes are big no-no’s.
If you need an illustration note you put it beside the text where the note is relevant. Likes so.
Your manuscript text. Your manuscript text.
[Boy surprises girl with a live dinosaur as a gift]