An author can turn ordinary paper into a story with delicate placement of their words. The illustrator gives those words life with whimsical lines and stroke of vibrant colors.
The author and the illustrator work as a team to bring the reader a story that will peak their interest and give them the urge to turn to the next page of the book. An author will have one vision for their characters and settings while creating the story line. The illustrator will have their own vision as they read the words from the pages of the book. For my book, I always pictured the main character Katie wearing weathered by love overalls, and having braided pony tails held together with red bows. Samantha, the illustrator, envisioned Katie wearing a checker dress with leggings and gave the character shoulder length hair.
In my personal opinion, as the author, I told the story with my words. When the production process began for the illustrations, I felt it was important to allow Samantha to tell her portion of the story with her impressive art work. Some authors may disagree with this theory, and would prefer their vision to come alive through the illustration process. Samantha had free reign to create the illustrations as her imagination pictured each detail.
There was one request that I asked of Samantha, which stemmed back from the memories of my little boy sitting upon my lab eighteen years ago as I read to him, " The Adventures of Taxi Dog". With each turn of the page, my then little boy, would giggle away hunting for the little black cat nestled in each illustration. The story never mentioned the black little cat, it was a "mark" left by the illustrator. I dreamed of the readers creating those same fond memories with their little ones with, "God's Biggest Treasures".
When I first saw the illustrations on print, excitement filled my heart. Eighteen years later; I sat with my little daughters on my lap as we hunted for the hidden treasure Samantha secretly drew on each illustration of my very own published book! We unrevealed together the hidden treasure with smiles and giggles.