I often have aspiring children's book authors ask me to do sample illustrations that they can submit with their manuscripts. I've learned, though, that in many cases first-time authors don't really understand the process of getting a book published, and so I don't typically jump at these opportunities.
I've learned through my years in a children's publishing house that publishers prefer to pair the manuscripts they acquire with their own vision for art style so almost never will take in art submitted with a proposal. Therefore, unless it's a well-known author or a big budget is offered—these kinds of projects can be a lot of work with no real benefit for an illustrator.
But, I recently had a woman approach me with a book idea so fun & unique & fantastic...it really spoke to me, and she had a good understanding of the process and realistic expectations for her budget—so I took it on and created a few tight sketches and one finished piece to accompany her proposals. I can't divulge too many details, but I love her character and her story—I had a blast creating these and she didn't mind if I share.
These are 2 of the sketches; I inked the one she liked best, and the other I would love to revisit for a personal piece at some point.
Here's the piece I did as a final; the story lends itself to a limited palette-so this was kind of a fun and different way for me to work...has a bit of a looser, more washy-feel to it.
I don't expect much more to happen with these-though she did say her literary agent recognized and really liked my work. So we'll see! :)